"It's about more than volunteering"

Joanna Rushton lives in Kirkby with her husband and one-year-old son. They moved there in July 2015, and are Plus Dane customers as shared owners of their home.

As a self-employed working mum with a background care work, when Plus Dane appealed for customers to join the scrutiny panel, Joanna was interested in finding out more straight away.

“As soon as I got the letter through the door, I thought it was an opportunity I was not going to miss,” she said. “Being part of a team which is working together in order to assist Plus Dane in reaching their fuller potential is a matter of importance to us all.

“I’m interested in hearing about personal experiences and getting that feedback – you are more likely to hear from people if they are making a complaint, but it is not so often reported when things go right, and that is important too.”

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As well as playing a role in shaping the services of Plus Dane, Joanna, who is originally from Poland, is looking forward to learning new skills and working with new people. Her involvement in the scrutiny panel is able to fit around her freelance work and childcare commitments.

“It’s something completely new for me and it’s not just about volunteering,” she says. “It appealed to me that this is more of a challenge, with an opportunity to progress, find out and learn things. It will be necessary to put in effort and discipline, read documents and research.

“Getting involved in initiatives like the scrutiny panel is a way of making the most of our freedoms and rights at the very local level - and it is also a way of bringing about positive and long-lasting improvements to our local community.”