The local SURF elections hit Rochdale!

Earlier this year we reported that the SURF Group is going local. SURF (Service User Representative Forum) was the name of the group of supported people from across the North West who met up at head office ‘Lion Court’ in Prescot every month, before setting up local groups in and around the area that they live in.

AFG Rochdale recently met at Rochdale Cricket Club to host their local SURF elections.

Janine Fearon, Team Leader for AFG Rochdale said: “Rochdale’s involvement group stopped meeting last year after poor attendance.

Today gives the people we support the opportunity to put themselves forward, to represent and be the voice of Rochdale.  All candidates have been looking forward to starting a group where they can really help change the lives of the people we support for the better; by giving them a voice to raise their opinions on the support delivered to them.”

Janine continued: “Everyone has worked really hard; each prepared a speech and despite some nerves they put some really heartfelt, passionate speeches forward.  The event was a real success and all involved are excited to get going and to start to represent the people of Rochdale.”

Katharine Lukash, current representative elected at Lion Court in 2008 said: “The Lion Court SURF group was really influential and had a say in the way AFG ran its business. We reviewed policies and procedures and we spoke out when we disagreed. We developed Our Promise which everyone follows across the organisation. I made a lot of friends and I had a lot of fun. I hope to do the same in Rochdale.”

The nominated reps were voted in!  Below are some snippets of their successful speeches:

Jodie Younas

“You should vote for me because I have the voice for people that can’t speak; I like to be involved in meetings and social meetings.

“I am not afraid to speak my mind for what I think is right.

“It would be an honour for me to help folk who are less fortunate than me”

Jodie's speech

Jodie’s speech

Martin Buckley

“I can help you change what you need to change.

“People who are supported who can’t afford to go on holiday; I can help by doing fundraising events.

“I can help organise fundraising events to raise money for charities like the NSPCC.

“I would also listen to ideas that people have and arrange days out. I go out for a meal once a month with the people I live with and this could be something that other people can do to make new friends.”

Georgina Bennett

“I would like you all to vote for me because I think I can help everyone.  I am an outdoors person and I would like to get together a group of people once a week doing various activities. This will mean that we meet different people and make new friends.”

Georgina's speech

Georgina’s speech

Jason Jones

“I am good with computers and I would be able to type up minutes from meetings. I can arrange meetings or interviews.

“I have great ideas to share for fundraising.

“”I would be able to discuss issues and come to your house to listen to your concerns. I will be able to understand your needs and offer you support.”

Jason preparing for his speech

Jason preparing for his speech

Brendan Murphy      

“I want to make change for the better.

I would like to help people voice their opinions and help them if they want to make changes.

“I want to make it better.”

Brendan practicing his speech

Brendan practicing his speech