Some new faces have joined the team at Evolving Communities – bringing with them a passion to help people in the South West have their voices heard on health and social care issues.

New Research and Engagement Officer Tessa Rugg says she shares the same values as the organisation.

28-year-old Tessa (pictured right), who previously worked as a research assistant at the University of Bath, said: “During my time as a researcher, I have always had a passion for making sure that participants voices are heard.  I feel that all too often people’s voices can be lost, especially when numbers are involved!

“I have always advocated that those who are being researched should have the opportunity to have a say in the process from developing the projects, to engagement and publication.  I feel very fortunate to have found a company that shares these views!”

Tessa’s role will involve supporting information gathering, advising on methods of data collection, creating interview questions and surveys and data analysis.

Tessa said: “I am most looking forward to getting stuck into various projects and hopefully using some novel and creative engagement methods.  I am also looking forward to meeting lots of people from both Healthwatch Somerset and Healthwatch Gloucestershire.”

New board members Margaret Morgan and Ian Price are keen to share their experience in the pharmaceutical, communications and business world to help influence the smooth running of Evolving Communities.

Margaret Morgan (pictured right) has worked in communications for the pharmaceutical industry all her professional life.  As a result, she has a wide-ranging understanding of health issues, and an appreciation of the broad social, political and economic trends which influence practice and delivery.

A great deal of her experience has been gained working with national and international patient advocacy and support groups.  These include Coeliac UK, The European Lung Foundation, Diabetes UK, Depression and Bi Polar Alliance (USA) and the American Heart Association.

Margaret, from South Somerset, said: “I’m looking forward to this new role with Evolving Communities, as it offers the opportunity to facilitate patient empowerment through helping people articulate their experiences of health and social care delivery and outcomes so that lessons can be learned and best practice encouraged.”

Other new board member Ian Price believes his business background will be a useful skill to bring to Evolving Communities.  Ian (pictured right), now retired from Devizes, has worked in the telecoms industry in various roles including marketing, business development and sales.

He said: “I believe my experience in the business aspects of running an organisation will be useful in my new role as director of Evolving Communities.

“On a personal note, we have had experience as a family with end of life care for both my and my wife’s parents some years ago.  It was generally good but also highlighted a number of shortcomings in the way they were treated.

“For example, there was a lack of easily available information on what help was available and how to get it and there were unreasonable expectations of their ability to complete complex application forms when they had limited capabilities due to stroke or other illness.

“I hope my new role will help expand the reach of Evolving Communities and the Healthwatch organisations to continue to improve the way health and social care services are delivered.”

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