Just so’s you know, Orb has just gained further recognition for the quality of the work we all do here:  the Matrix Standard.

Sadly, this has nothing to do with Keanu Reeves; it won’t involve Mark and Leon hurtling around in swirling leather greatcoats.

The Matrix Standard is established by the government  as a ‘high standard, performance enhancing national standard’.  It aims to encourage and reward all kinds of businesses and organisations which offer information, advice and guidance services on learning and work.

Given the nature of Orb’s work, the assessors were able to apply the fundamentals of this framework and look at our success in offering our service users ‘a high degree of personalised, ongoing and caring support’.

The assessor arrived just before Christmas, looked closely at the way things are done and spoke to management, partners, volunteers and service users.

What he saw and heard impressed him to the extent that he was able to give his verdict before he left: passed, with flying colours!


So what did they discover?


The assessor’s report arrived earlier this month.

It was very thorough.

It looked back at the changes and improvements Orb was making throughout 2012 and mentioned our new induction process for new service users and volunteers, the Learning Agreements which help service users to enhance their skills, the Equality and Diversity policy and the new Employee handbook.

It also mentioned areas where we could look to improve – and constructive advice is always welcome.  We’ve certainly got plenty of things to keep us on our toes and, after all, Matrix is very much about continuous improvement.

But the best bit came in the section headed ‘Areas of Particular Strength’.  The assessor seemed to highlight qualities which we would all associate with Orb, and his language was very enthusiastic.


Let’s take a look at the key points:


  • The report said it was clear that ‘one of the great strengths of Orb is the clarity and single mindedness of purpose and mission’.
  • Clarity of purpose, strong leadership, efforts made with communication mean that everyone engaged in the work of Orb is very focused on the service aims and objectives.
  • Orb has a very people-centred culture where staff, volunteers and service users all help to influence what happens.
  • Even in harsh times, the Social Services have continued to place individuals in ‘the capable hands of Orb’.
  • Orb is now seen as ‘a key player in the community’.
  • ‘Despite challenging financial conditions, Orb has successfully invested in professional standard equipment, particularly on the music front, enabling budding musicians to achieve high quality levels’.





Why is all this so important?


Well, we all love a little praise and encouragement now and then, don’t we?

But, more importantly, every recognition from the outside world creates new confidence in what we are doing.

It establishes our identity as a valuable service at the heart of our community.

It helps to reinforce our efforts to make the world at large more aware of how much we are all affected by mental health issues – and how much can be done to restore our mental wellbeing through engaging our creative talents.