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Who are the innovators and influencers in the #AgeingWell space?

Click Guide to Ageing Well

Finally there is an easy  way to access amazing online resources which give you information, highlight innovations and tell you about the many organisations working in the ageing sector. The click guide to ageing well brings this information together in a single place. With sections ranging from community connections to sexual wellbeing the guide shows that living a good later life presents many  opportunities along with the challenges!

In the digital age older people deserve and expect to look forward to a fulfilling later life supported by technology.  The constant messages about “the elderly” being associated with isolation, loneliness and “bed blocking” need to be balanced with how digital technology can and is enhancing people’s lives.  We need visionary digital leaders who are able to build collaborations  and alliances across health, care, housing, charities, social enterprises, funders, digital innovators and the older people likely to use digital products and services. .

The click guide to ageing will help you to understand where the millions of pounds are being spent to support people to age well,  We look forward to reporting in future newsletters  on whether the current investment in innovative ways of working and digital technology is having a significant impact. 

Older people now have more capacity, resources and access to knowledge than any previous generations. A quarter of the people who turned 50 in 2012 could live to be 100. We know that staying active, physically and mentally will support us to enjoy later life. The click guide to ageing well provides unique insights into how digital technology and social media are transforming the world of ageing

The click guide to ageing well will be of interest to everyone over 50 and the many professionals working to transform ageing who want to explore and understand how digital resources can enhance lives.

The Click Guide to Ageing Well is available to buy as an eBook for £4.99 and a paperback for £8.99 (plus p&p)

A special thank you is due to Jason Bergen @mryahbut  my co-author who has so generously shared his extensive insights and knowledge as we researched and developed the guide. His support and patience has been invaluable.

I know that I am very fortunate to have access to the expertise and skills of James Souttar @jamessouttar  Co-Founder of the Connected Care Network

We have been delighted at the response to our click guide to dementia which can be also be purchased from our website. We hope that you will find the click guide to ageing well equally valuable.  

Diverse Alzheimers @DiverseAlz

Thumbs up to @shirleyayres for compiling a practical guide on services in Click Guide to Dementia as well as people seen as change makers

Gillian Anderson @GAlzscot

Well worth downloading – well researched resources for anyone with an interest in #dementia and #digital

Dr Shibley Rahman @dr_shibley

I strongly recommend this ‘click guide’ to #dementia. Put together by @shirleyayres it’s an accurate account

Annika Small @AnnikaSmall

This is a fantastic initiative @shirleyayres – a massive thank you from me and my fellow dementia carers.

L @dragonmisery

What a fabulous new resource, I’m delighted to be included. I know carers will find this new digital directory of resources a wealth of info https://twitter.com/shirleyayres/status/788251065833709568 …

Andrew Corbett-Nolan @acorbettn

this is quietly impressive

The Click Guides are being  produced by members of the Connected Care Network who believe passionately that technology can benefit all of our lives but only if information is accessible to enable people to make informed choices about which digital resources fit with their hopes, needs and aspirations.

 

 

 

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#pddigital16 & a free prize draw

There is a special event happening today and tomorrow in Leeds and through the power of Twitter you can join in too. People Drive Digital #ppdigital16 is a festival of makers, doers, leaders and citizens in digital health and care organised by a great team including Victoria Betton, Anne Cooper and Roz Davies. The festival is a fabulous example of bringing people together to collaborate, innovate and share learning. Along with the organisers I believe that diverse connections and getting citizens, practitioners, developers, designers, academics and others together can be a powerful way of making good things happen.

#pddigital16 starts at 6.00 with a debate exploring “So what is frugal innovation and how is it relevant to people driving digital innovation in health and care?” with @JaideepPrabhu and @mentalsnapp You can follow the live stream here

@Anniecoops has posted thoughts ahead of the debate “What does ‘frugal’ mean to you?”

Have a look at the full programme here

One of the delightful elements of #pddigital16 is the invitation for everyone to bring a gift to share. Whilst I cannot be at the event in person I did want to share a gift and we are offering five copies of the Click Guide to Dementia eBook in a free prize draw. Open to everyone attending in person or participating online just tweet to me @shirleyayres “#pddigital16 Click Guide to Dementia prize draw”. Five winners will be selected at random on Wednesday 30th November 2016. I will contact the winners to confirm email addresses by the 2nd December.

Whilst there are many fantastic digital resources available across the whole spectrum of health and social care they are often unknown to those who need them most. The Click Guide to Dementia brings together more than a hundred of the most useful digital resources, with an overview and explanations as well as hyperlinks to websites, blogs, facebook pages and twitter feeds. Topics covered in the Guide range from information, advocacy and carer support through to specialist dementia shops and services.

The guide is a unique and independent one stop directory for people using care services, living with dementia, their families, carers and professionals. You can find out more about the Click Guide to Dementia here

We have received great feedback about the Guide:

Last year at #pddigital15 we asked people what health and wellbeing apps they used and would recommend. You may be surprised at some of the responses here!

I hope everyone enjoys the experience as much as I did last year. I strongly recommend following the hashtag #pddigital16 and joining in the conversations.

 

The Value of Critical Friends

 

photo-for-blog-posts

(Picture Credit: Bill Ferriter)

One of the most challenging and enjoyable elements of my work is being commissioned to provide Critical Friend reviews. In the increasingly crowded social space it is even more important that organisations have a digital strategy which connects, speaks and listens to often diverse audiences. Every organisation needs to show how their engagement strategies are generating tangible results and impact through digital leadership and culture. Over the last few years we have been carrying out an increasing number of critical friend reviews for public, private and not for profit organisations.

A critical friend review is an external and uniquely independent opinion of an organisation’s positioning, strategy or initiatives. It comes from a perspective that is sympathetic to what the organisation is trying to achieve and reflects the context whilst identifying opportunities, likely challenges and pitfalls.

A Critical Friend review addresses these fundamental questions:

  • How is your organisation positioned now?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • How are you going to get there?
  • How are you showing that your work makes a difference and has an impact?

In answering these questions, the emphasis is on being honest and ‘telling it how it is’. We recognise that this can be difficult but to be effective a critical friend review must be unafraid to comment on where the chosen approach is unlikely to deliver the desired results and to suggest different approaches.

Why is this valuable now?

The simple reason is that we are in a challenging economic and political climate with rapidly changing expectations of how services will be delivered. Consequently, organisations must develop new and unprecedented ways of working. As senior managers frequently tell me “Our approach to digital transformation needs to be different from anything we have done before”. With fewer resources available, and with more riding on outcomes than ever before, organisations cannot afford to make mistakes in the way they respond to these challenges.  A critical friend review helps organisation prepare for navigating uncharted territory through market intelligence which has been gained over many years of working across the social sector.

I believe it is crucial for proposed approaches to be subjected to independent scrutiny. The feedback will not inevitably be negative: it will identify what is being done well and can highlight strengths and opportunities that may have been missed. A great deal of our work consists in recommending organisations, initiatives and resources which our clients may be unaware of – but which could greatly assist in the achievement of their objectives.

Successive governments have recognised the importance of critical friending for the public sector.  We draw on the ‘Critical Friend Framework’ published in 2004 which identifies three dimensions of critical friending: ‘inputs’ (looking at the skills and experience involved in a project), process and structure (considering the way in which projects are organised) and outcomes (evaluating what the organisation is aiming to achieve and prospects of success).

In acting as a critical friend, we are able to draw upon many years of working with adult and children’s services, health, housing, social enterprises, entrepreneurs, academics and charities. Our knowledge and expertise encompasses policy, research, marketing, communications and digital technology. This ‘width and depth’ – together with an ability to look at a situation from a range of different perspectives – is really an essential requirement of a critical friend. There is little value in being told what you already know!

What this means in practice is illustrated by a comment from one of our clients Barnwood Trust,

 “Embarking on a new website and a whole new approach to the way we were working, and on top of that a new brand for it all, was a big and sometimes daunting job. We spent a long time researching, planning and testing each of our ideas and concepts, making sure that we were developing something that people wanted and felt would be useful to them. It was during this process that we came across Shirley and her work as a critical friend.

“Shirley took on the role of critical friend for our new brand and website, You’re Welcome  and provided us with a completely different and invaluable perspective. Not only did Shirley provide a thought provoking report from which we have been able to develop and also strengthen our ideas but she also provided support throughout the review on the phone. It was extremely useful to talk our work through with someone with as much knowledge and experience as Shirley. To have a report at the end of it really helped with the work and how we developed it. Shirley was an absolute pleasure to work with and we will definitely be looking to draw from her skills and experience again in the future.”

Transformational change across the health, care and housing and social sectors now requires digital leadership, market intelligence and approaches which acknowledge the value of radical thinking. 

Expectations of more openness, transparency and accountability in publicly funded services along with the immediacy of social media in highlighting disconnects between the rhetoric and reality of how organisations present themselves makes the role of  a independent critical friend even more important.

I am often asked to comment on projects, websites, digital products and services but the response often needs more than a tweet (or two!). I am happy to discuss how a critical friend review could help your organisation. Please feel free to contact me. Shirley.Ayres@btinternet.com  @shirleyayres

Shirley is co-founder of the Connected Care Network which supports digital transformation and engagement using technology & social media for social good.

 

 

 

Update: Click Guide to #Dementia

I  have been touched and excited by the interest and support for the Guide. since we launched (read the original post here) and we are now working on the next two Guides which we hope to launch soon.

You can buy the Guide here and I appreciate it can be a tough choice between the eBook at £4-99 which has clickable links and the Paperback at £8-99 (plus p&p) a valuable reference book. Or why not buy both!

A big thank you to everyone sharing and liking information about the Guide.

The Click Guide is self funded and has been produced by a very small group of professionals who believe passionately that technology can benefit all of our lives but only if information is accessible to enable people to make informed choices about how digital resources can enhance care and support.

An important reminder that the Terms and Conditions for using the Click Guide to Dementia eBook state that the Guide is for personal use and can only be downloaded on one device (laptop, iPad, Tablet or smartphone).

If you are an organisation who would like to support staff, service users and volunteers to benefit from online access to the Guide or a membership subscription service who wish to add our digital resources to your database please contact us to buy a licence which is available for a reasonable fee  dependent on the numbers who will be accessing the resources in the Guide.

For more information about buying a licence or for a digital copy of the Terms and Conditions of Use please contact Shirley@clickguide.co.uk 

 

 

Introducing the new Click Guide to Dementia: sharing resources from the digital world

It is my birthday today and what better way to celebrate than by launching our new Click Guide to Dementia. Whether you work in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors technology is transforming the way that people connect and services are delivered. Digital technology and social networks provide some of the most powerful tools available today for building a sense of belonging, support and sharing among groups of people with similar interests and concerns.

Digital technology is driving a revolution in care and the growing use of mobile devices, apps and social networks is becoming significant in enabling people to live more independent lives, irrespective of their health and care needs. Care in the digital age provides opportunities to reach out and support people in more exciting and radical ways. “In the digital age how can we easily keep track of the many resources available? The Click Guides are filling an information gap” Paul Taylor Innovation Coach Bromford Lab

A diagnosis of dementia can be scary for the individual, their family and friends. It helps that there are an increasing number of online resources which can make a difference by providing information, advice, support and specialist products and services. From blogs and tweetchats to personal support networks and life changing products the Click Guide to Dementia provides a unique perspective on the influencers, disruptors and innovators in the sector.

I feel privileged that Dr Shibley Rahman a dementia researcher and author I respect enormously has described The Click Guide to Dementia  which brings together more than a hundred of the most useful resources with hyperlinks to websites, blogs, facebook pages and twitter feeds as “a brilliant initiative”

The Click Guide to Dementia is available to buy as an eBook for £4.99 and a Paperback for £8.99 (plus p&p)

The Click Guide to Dementia is the first in a series of directories being developed to help people access and  enjoy the opportunities and benefits offered by the internet. To reflect the rapid growth of digital technology solutions intended to enhance care and support we are planning to update this Guide in April 2017.

If your organisation would like to be included in the next edition of the Click Guide to Dementia please provide evidence of your impact. We will be highlighting those organisations who have shown how they are making a difference to people’s lives and the lessons learned and shared from both success and failure.

Social media provides real time feedback and you could show evidence of impact in many ways including: hits on your website, testimonials, number of report downloads, likes and comments on your Facebook page, engagement on Twitter and in discussion forums. Please email your details to Shirley@clickguide.co.uk  with a link to the website and 100 word summary explaining why it should be included by 31st March 2017.

To keep informed about future publications, updated versions of the guides and other resources, why not sign up for our e-newsletter? Click Guides to Ageing Well, Digital Technology for Adult Social Care, Mental Health and Community Connections will be published over the next six months.

Find out how your organisation can subscribe to give staff, service users and volunteers online access to the Guide through the Click Guide to Dementia Update

 

 

 

 

 

Who is this mysterious tribe named “the elderly”?

I continue to puzzle at why “the elderly” is used with such abandon especially on social media and notably amongst health professionals and people working in the  technology industry. Our ageing population represent a victory for better nutrition, better housing, and the welfare state. People in later life offer wisdom, experience, perspective and a wide range of skill sets and capacities.

Why are we not embracing and utilising the wealth of knowledge and experience of older people to develop, deliver and support digital services rather than making assumptions?

So I thought I would ask Twitter about the mysterious “the elderly” tribe!

As I frequently comment “age is a statistical category not an identity. Strangely people aged sixty plus are not one homogeneous group, we are as varied as individuals in any other sector of the population and our different life experiences inform our perspectives as consumers. Older people may have similar needs physically but these do not erase life experiences, preferences and orientations.

A gentle reminder that baby boomers (generally considered to have been born between 1946 and 1964) have expectations and aspirations shaped by:

1953 Francis Crick and James Watson discovering the structure of DNA.

1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his historic “I Have a Dream” speech

1993 work on the Human Genome Project started

1969 Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon

1971 Launch of the Open University

1973 Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon is released

1998 Google founded

1998 Launch of Apple iMac

2001  Launch of Wikipedia and the first Apple iPod..

2004 Facebook is founded

2006 Twitter was created

Do feel free to vote in the Twitter poll and I will update this post when the results are ready In the meantime the search for “the elderly” tribe continues!

And just in case you have missed this!

 

 

 

 

 

How can digital technology help a person living with multiple sclerosis?

Such a simple, obvious and wise statement – it would be so exciting if every individual offered a personal health or care budget was able to access a digital care navigator. Sadly the social sector (including health, care and charities) have not yet managed to bridge the gap between the rhetoric of digital transformation and the everyday experiences and reality for citizens..

I was recently asked for advice about how digital technology could help  a person with late onset multiple sclerosis deteriorating rapidly. She loved crafts, needlework painting etc but is losing use of her hands.  She has a laptop but using the mouse is getting tricky.

It emphasised for me how important it is for people to be aware of, and able to access, online resources to support independent living and #ageingbetter so I thought it would be helpful to share resources.

It is definitely worth contacting AbilityNet a small and impressive UK charity helping disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology. They provide a range of factsheets and advice and information services.

@AbilityNet run the inspiring @Tech4GoodAwards which celebrate the people and technology making the world a better place. 2016 finalists will be announced on the 8th June!

AbilityNet have been shortlisted as Digital Charity of the Year 2016 by Digital Leaders 100. The winners will be chosen by a public vote and you can vote for them now on the Digital Leaders website and help spread the message about the amazing way that technology can transform the lives of disabled and older people.

[Declaration of interest: I have a real fondness for small charities with a big vision who know how to be creative and deliver results with limited funds!]

A helpful post on using a computer if you have tremors

UCanDoIT is a charity that teaches IT skills to people with disabilities on a one to one basis in their own homes. @ucdit

Another site with useful information about technology and disability

(and I am sure there are many more to be added!)

Tips and tricks for folks with Multiple Sclerosis (Microsoft 365)

From gaming system to medical breakthrough: How Microsoft and Novartis created Assess MS

Touchscreens such as iPads are tactile, versatile and very simple to use and the apps make it easy to play accessible games, which help memory, agility and interaction. iPads can be used for all manner of activities such as games, apps, accessing websites and playing music and video.

However before buying any apps it is always worth reading the reviews, checking compatibility requirements with laptop/tablet being used  and whether the app is really free or being offered as a subscription model!

Some fun interactive apps

Pigment (free to download but with a Premium Access paid subscription) allows you to colour as you would on paper with actual colored pencils. Choose from 350+ hand curated, professionally drawn illustrations, 8 different kinds of pencils, markers and brushes, and an unlimited number of colors to choose from. Completed artwork can be friends and family.

Painterly £1.49) allows you to create beautiful evocative pictures even if you do not have advanced drawing skills or formal art training Allows for painting with more than 60 virtual brushes, as well as importing photos and then painting them

List of googled needlework apps for iPad (not my specialist area does anyone have any recommendations?)

Games

Imutt (free but charity will invite a donation) This game from the Dogs Trust allows users to look after an impossibly cute virtual rescue dog for five days. Perfect and no need to walk in bad weather!

FlowerGarden (free with further in-app purchases) allows you to pick virtual seeds, plant them, water them and watch them grow. This is especially significant for participants who used to enjoy growing plants and are missing their former gardens.

An honourable mention for the informative @AXSChat which runs the informative weekly #AXSchat discussing accessibility & inclusion in business on the web & beyond.

I have reached out to the Multiple Sclerosis charities for advice and will update this post  when I receive responses.

I met Paul Smyth Head of IT Accessibility at Barclays Bank recently and was very impressed by his thoughtful and measured approach to accessibility and inclusive technology. I recommend listening to his interview.

It is so obvious really that digital technology can make all the difference to the quality of life for people living with disabilities and why I believe it is so important to make #connectedcare a reality.

Obviously this post is only a snapshot of available resources (I am not a assitive technology specialist but I work with companies excited to use technology to improve their services).

And I am always very aware that what digital technology offers are endless possibilities to make person-focused care a reality. 

I welcome your thoughts about resources you have found helpful. please add to the comments section below or share with me via Twitter @shirleyayres

 

Exploring the Benefits of Learning from Failure at #LFFdigital

I have always been inspired by JK Rowling’s powerful Harvard commencement speech in which she discussed the fringe benefits of failure. As JK  said,”It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all in which case, you fail by default.”

We live in an age that relentlessly promotes innovation. However across the public sector our willingness to talk about risk and learn from failure has not kept pace. Whilst there seems to be consensus about the need to share learning many organisations are working in a  competitive funding environment which does not encourage this to happen. How can we create a space which encourages organisations to share the learning about projects which have not achieved their anticipated and desired outcomes and impact?

Our Practical Strategies for Learning from Failure workshop on the 5th August in Cardiff offers the opportunity for strategic thinkers who recognise that we need to learn how to deal with disappointments, mistakes and failures of all kinds.  It responds to the #PdDigital15 challenge “how can we unleash people-led digital innovation in health and wellbeing?” by helping to de-stigmatise failure and ‘what doesn’t work’ so we can adapt and move on more quickly.

The event is being facilitated by a unique team bringing perspectives from practice, research and different sectors.

We will be working with you to consider the following questions.

  • What are the costs of failure and how can we do things differently?
  • Why do we continue to reward the “wrong” activities?
  • What are the guiding principles to prepare for a new landscape with citizens at the centre?

There is no charge for the event, thanks to the people at #PdDigital15 and the Wales Audit Office so we expect everyone to make commitments to preparatory thinking, collaborative working, and follow-up.  We are doing this because we believe it is important to keep up critical momentum on the conversation.

You can register here

Once registered on this workshop you will need to complete a short questionnaire. It will take about 10 minutes and give you a flavour of the kinds of conversations we will have and provide valuable insights to inform the workshop.

The main outcome from the workshop is to begin a cross sector conversation about how to share the learning from failure across health , housing , care and the wider social sector.

If you are not able to attend the workshop but  would like to join in the conversation  on Twitter and share resources you have found useful we are using the hashtag #LFFdigital

(We are not officially announcing it yet but if you cannot come to Cardiff in August  we will be running another #LFFdigital workshop in Leeds on the 8th October)

Why I value the TelecareLin newsletter

I’d like to share a secret. The reason I can keep up to date with the extraordinary pace of technological innovation across the care, health and housing sectors is because of the excellent TelecareLin newsletter produced every month by Mike Clark.

Launched October 2005, this free monthly newsletter is distributed to 48,000 subscribers in the UK and worldwide via e-mail and archived at www.telecarelin.org.uk. You can find highlights on Rebelmouse (daily) or by following Mike Clark on Twitter (@clarkmike). With over 800 news and events links over the last month this is an incredibly valuable resource. Thank you to Innovate UK (previously the Technology Strategy Board), Knowledge Transfer Network and the Telecare Learning and Improvement Network for funding this important resource.

As an example if you have an interest in digital technology and work in  health, care or housing are you aware of the following events taking place in the next few months? (For the full list have a look at the latest newsletter!)

The Age of No Retirement – 1 to 2 October 2014, London https://www.tradingtimes.org.uk/community/95289715/

Inspiration for Independent Daily Living – marketplace event – Maidenhead, 3 October http://www.healthwatchwam.co.uk/social_inspirations_for_daily_living_public_poster_final.pdf

DHACA Members Day II – 7 October, Liverpool
http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dhaca-members-day-ii-tickets-12753274387

European Telemedicine Conference, Rome – 7-8 October 2014 http://www.telemedicineconference.eu/ehome/index.php?eventid=92707&tabid=201417&

Medicine 2.0 Europe, Malaga 9-11 October 2014 http://www.medicine20congress.com/ocs/index.php/med/med2014b

Next steps for integrating health and social care, and implementing the Better Care Fund, London, 14 October 2014 http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/event.php?eid=828

Integrated Care Summit 2014 – London 14 October 2014  http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/events/integrated-care-summit-2014

Connected Healthcare – San Diego 14-15 October 2014 http://www.openmobilemedia.com/connected-healthcare-mhealth-usa/

Technology Enhanced Home Care Forum – Manchester 16 October 2014 http://estratevents.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/technology-enhanced-homecare-forum-brings-together-telehealth-expertise-and-innovation/

National Children and Adult Services Conference 2014, Manchester, 29-31 October 2014 http://www.adass.org.uk/ncasc-2014/

The Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare will this year host the Scottish Digital Health & Care Week in conjunction with the Scottish Government’s eHealth and Joint Improvement Team from November 3 – 7 2014.

Scottish Digital Health & Care Conference – 6 November 2014, Edinburgh http://www.sctt.scot.nhs.uk/events/scottish-digital-health-care-conference/

EHI Live – 4-5 November 2014 Birmingham http://www.ehilive.co.uk/

Innovate UK 2014 – London 5-6 November 2014 https://www.innovateuk.org/-/innovate-uk

There is so much talk about the importance of the digital revolution for promoting more integrated care focused on the person, their needs, hopes, aspirations and lifestyle.  What we have not been so good at doing is connecting all the different elements together and offering connected care to the individual, their family and care and support network.

Thanks Mike from one very grateful beneficiary of the knowledge, wisdom and resources you share so generously!

Exciting update about the Advanced Social Work Practice Network on LinkedIn

inspired photoI am delighted to announce that Deona Hooper will be taking over the Advanced Social Work Practice Network on LinkedIn. Deona is the the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the internationally renowned Social Work Helper Magazine. I have chosen her to be the new guardian of the  of the Advances Social Work Practice Network Group because she shares my vision for the Network  Although I will no longer be the principal owner of the group, I will remain a member and support Deona in helping her grow and continue to meet the needs of this community.

A brief introduction from Deona
“My vision for this group is to continue using an interdisciplinary approach to discussing advance social work practice. I hope this group will serve as a catalyst to spur international debates and discussions on issues affecting social workers globally. Please, feel free to contact me at deona@socialworkhelper.com with any feedback you may have, or if you are interested in being a moderator for the group. I look forward to connecting with all of you.”
In addition Deona has generously agreed to co-facilitate the Network for Professionals Working with Vulnerable Children and Young People group with me.
As Deona says
Although we are on opposite sides of the Atlantic, we saw an opportunity to bridge our talents and passion for digital media and communications into a single forum.

My hope is that collectively we will be able to further advance this international platform to increase the reach of individual group members’ voices as well as your ability to connect with other like minds globally. As practitioners, we often share many of the same barriers and challenges when it comes to protecting vulnerable populations no matter our geographical location.This group serves as a perfect place to help facilitate those conversations. I look forward to taking on a more active role and connecting with each of you.”

 

Many thanks Deona and I look forward to a truly international collaboration!
It is with great sadness that I have to announce that this group will be closing  on the 30th September 2014.  I no longer have the resources to continue to support the group and have decided that now is the time to bring it to a close rather than letting it begin a period of unmanaged decline.

It’s been fascinating over the last four years to have been able to watch this community grow, change, learn and develop. When I started the group there were few social work LinkedIn groups available and I am delighted that there are now so many different group to choose from.

I explored with the College of Social Work the possibility of them running the Network to take it forwards but, due to the lack of resources available to develop the group, they declined the opportunity.

The Network has been managed on a voluntary basis by me since it started and I believe part of it’s success has been approving members in a closed group to ensure the professional ethos is maintained and protected. But the reality is that this undertaking requires time and resources to manage as the College of Social Work rightly pointed out.

I hope very much that at least some of the members will start a similar group with a similar ethos building on the strong and involved community here. I really look forward to watching the direction that you will take it in future.

With all good wishes for the future and thanks for your support of the LinkedIn Advanced Social Work Practice Network.

Shirley