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Users of Vale day care service star in pioneering new film 

24 November 2015

Users of a day care service in Barry for people with physical disabilities have been catapulted into the limelight after staring in a film commissioned by financial services giant, Legal & General. And it was so well received L&G donated £1000 to the centre to show their gratitude!

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The film shows the difficulties faced by people with a physical disability when calling a contact centre with everyday but nevertheless, important enquiries.  Although Legal & General made the film, the calls could be to any company with a call centre, perhaps to query a gas bill or to request pension information.  These are important matters where people rely on the communication skills of the call handler to give them peace of mind and crucially, to deal with their enquiries promptly and efficiently.

 

All the actors who took part in the film have some form of disability and their experiences highlighted the obstacles they faced when making a call.  These ranged from the call handler’s lack of knowledge of disabilities and their impact, as well as systems and processes that were a barrier to people needing a service. Complicated and confusing options, and information given too fast for them to process were also areas of concern.

The New Horizons Day Centre, run by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, was chosen because it was found to be the only centre of its type in Wales, run by a local authority for people with a physical disability.  The film was produced by LGIM Retail (Legal & General’s retail investments business) and was intended as a training video for their call centre staff. It soon became apparent through the testimonies of those who took part in the film that this was something very powerful – pioneering even.

 

Senior Legal & General managers in London and Cardiff were so moved after watching the film that they have decided to use it across the Legal & General Group of companies, as part of their training and development and to share it with other companies from different sectors too.

 

Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Legal & General said: “The New Horizons team have really helped us to understand their lives and what they expect good service to look like.  We now have the job of taking this and changing how we do business for other customers.  We have found at Legal & General that charities and not for profit organisations are some of the most insightful, to help companies do a better job of serving their customers”.

 

Mark Roderick (pictured), who had juvenile arthritis which caused the seizure of his joints, is a regular visitor to the New Horizons Day Service.  His experiences, along with ten other day centre users, featured prominently in the film.  Commenting, Mark said: “For so long vulnerable adults have voiced concerns and issues but nobody was there to listen.  L&G did listen.  They had the foresight to see the value of working with vulnerable clients, in order to help vulnerable clients.  The result is a pioneering project that hopefully will change the way call centres operate for years to come.  This could not have happened though, without the support of New Horizons day centre.  Hope, belief and independence are three emotions that society knowingly or unknowingly saps from disabled people.  New Horizons day service and its incredible staff give them back to us, enabling us to do what we did with L&G.

 

Sandra Busby, Managing Director of The Welsh Contact Centre Forum, which represents over 30,000 workers in 200 call centres across Wales, believes that the experiences of the people who took part in the film is a wake-up call for the contact centre industry.  She will be recommending it as essential training and viewing for all contact centre staff in Wales, and has already organised a viewing for over 70 companies in January. 

 

Commenting, Sandra Busby said: “The Welsh Contact Centre is delighted to support this initiative and has high praise for Legal & General regarding their innovative approach to vulnerable customers.  Well done to all involved in making the film.”  

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Sandie Dunn, People Development Manager at Legal & General, presented the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Louise Payne, who runs the New Horizons Day Care Service with a cheque for £1,000, which will be invested in physiotherapy equipment for the centre.  Both Sandie and Louise were instrumental in the film’s conception and delivery.       

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