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How can Lifeways use the unique, individual experiences of the 4,500 individuals we support to inform better support?

On a mission to find out is Nichola Noble, Lifeways’ Area Manager for the North East, whose pioneering work in co-production has secured her a place as a finalist in the Great British Care Awards!

Nichola, who goes by Nikki, spearheaded the creation of our Quality Checkers programme, which is co-led and co-produced by people we support.

Quality Checkers are individuals who are trained to look closely at the support we provide in their own home and the local area.

So far, 130 individuals have volunteered to become Quality Checkers – with the eventual goal of having at least one Quality Checker in every one of our 1,500 services.

‘Very humbled’

“I am very humbled to have been nominated,” says Nikki. Nikki believes her back-to-basics approach is key to her success in supporting individuals to participate in their own support. “For me, it’s about listening to the people we support and making things happen, involving them as much as they want to be involved and breaking down barriers to achieve this,” Nikki adds.

Nikki’s work has seen her personally organise or facilitate the following initiatives and events:

  • Training a total of 27 Quality Checkers herself
  • Supporting and implementing a Pen Pal Network to bring together people we support across the country
  • Facilitating a competition to create a Quality Checker logo to use on documents and merchandise
  • Creating an Events Committee whose first event, Lifeways’ Got Talent, had over 100 entries

Writing to recommend Nikki for the award, Jodie Allen Cawley, Lifeways’ Group Head of Quality and Health & Safety stated: “We are incredibly proud of Nikki’s drive, passion, and dedication to co-production.”

“Thanks to Nikki, the voices of the people we support are not only lifted but their ideas, choices and preferences are co-produced together,” Jodie added.

Next steps

On 11 November, in a ceremony held at Manchester’s Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, Nikki will find out whether she has won the Co-Production Award.

This category is one of 23 in the Great British Care Awards. Another Lifeways finalist for a Great British Care Award is Zoé Hji-Christoforou, our designer of support team training materials, who’s competing in the Workforce Development Award category.

We’re looking forward to the awards ceremony!

What is co-production?

Simply put, co-production is another way of saying that we strive to include everyone when we design, develop and evaluate our support. This includes our teams, the people we support, their families, carers and communities.

Perhaps the best definition of co-production is from Josie, an individual we support. “When I get support, it’s a working-together-and-helping-each-other-thing,” says Josie.

“Instead of being treated like I’m helpless and being patronised.”

To find out more about co-production, watch our five-minute co-production explainer video or listen to our podcast episode on co-production featuring Jodie Allen-Cawley, Group Head of Quality and Health & Safety.


About Lifeways:

Lifeways is the UK’s largest team of support professionals providing support for adults in the community.

As the supported living sector’s largest team of professionals, Lifeways’ extensive experience and national reach mean we deliver extraordinary support to adults, enabling them to live fulfilling and independent lives in the community.  

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