My First Year as a Service Quality Director: The First Three Months by Sam Avery

Posted 25/04/2024

Sam Avery, Service Quality Director for Thera South West, is documenting her first year to explain the work that Service Quality Directors do. In this blog, she talks about her first three months in the role.

My name is Sam Avery. I recently joined Thera South West as their Service Quality Director. Thera South West provides supported living and community support services to people with a learning disability around the South West region. We support people in areas such as Devon, Torbay, Dorset, and Wiltshire. I will be documenting my first year at Thera South West and my experiences and development within the organisation to help people understand why we have Service Quality Directors and the work that we do.

I found searching for paid work a frustrating experience. I have spent ages applying for jobs but all I ever heard back was “we don’t know how to help you.” It was very frustrating. I have a background in advocating for people with a learning disability with Cornwall Council and always knew if given the opportunity I had a lot to offer. Then I heard about Thera.

I applied for the role and was happy to get it. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to impact the lives of people with a learning disability in a positive way. When looking for work and getting involved in advocacy I always thought to myself “I want to change the world.” Thera gives me the opportunity to do that by changing the lives of the people we support.

The role of a Service Quality Director is varied. We work alongside the Managing Directors to decide the directions the company will take, we are responsible for engaging with the people that we support to monitor the quality of their support and ensure it is a person centred approach which gives them control over their lives. We do this through home visits and arranging “Being Heard” events where we can discuss their support with them.

So far, I have visited several people’s homes to introduce myself and was surprised at how welcoming and warm people were. Whilst all relationships take time to build, the enthusiasm I have been greeted with speaks volumes about the community that Estelle (Managing Director) and the rest of Thera South West have built.

Thera have helped me begin to settle into the role with lots of support. The other Service Quality Directors have always been on hand to provide advice and information about what they do whilst I am attempting to build my own style. Meeting the other Service Quality Directors has been so important to me. It was very difficult to socialise and expand my network in Cornwall so meeting people with similar backgrounds, experiences, and aspirations, has been amazing for me.

I feel like I have been challenged since first starting particularly with technology such as Teams. At times it can be overwhelming when I’m in large meetings due to the sound echoing but everyone is very understanding of that and makes accommodations. It really has been such a wonderful first month. Thera really lives by its principals and as someone with a learning disability that’s been so important for me to see.

I am looking forward to getting more involved with the organisation, helping the people we support, and building our company membership numbers. I just don’t want to let anybody down. I feel so fortunate to have been trusted with this position. I’m very happy.

Until next time.

Read more about the work that Thera South West does and the support that they offer here