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DEEP Testimonies


I am responsible for leading a programme of quality improvements within Swansea Council Adult Services Provision. This includes range of services to older and disabled people, and people with learning disabilities or mental health difficulties.

We have been working with the DEEP programme on developing a consistent vision and organisational culture that is grounded in the Senses Framework and relationship-centred care. We chose to use an Appreciative Inquiry approach, with a focus on gathering ‘magic moment’ stories from across the service and then using them as a catalyst for learning and development.

We gathered 42 stories and with support from the Wales School for Social Care Research developed a ‘Magic Moments in Adult Services Provision’ learning booklet. You can find a copy of the booklet here.  We then piloted a simple Exploratory Talk workshop involving service users, carers and staff.  The workshop was very successful and you can find a guide to run a similar workshop here

Since then, a group of staff and service users have been trained in Community of Enquiry and we are engaging in more development work in partnership with the DEEP programme and the Macmillan nurses including ‘magic moments in end of life care’ and positive risk taking using a set of provocative statement cards as a catalyst for reflective group learning. You can find a copy of the cards here.


I am a young guy, who is supported by Swansea Council. I am also a fan of Swansea City Football Club. I used to attend Swansea Vale Resource centre, I am now a volunteer mentor within this service. I met Nick Andrews at one of my first events that I attended and he was very interested in hearing about my story and he was very knowledgeable and this gave me confidence allowing me to explore other opportunities.

I was invited to join in a Magic Moments workshop that was being facilitated by people from the Wales School for Social Care Research. At this workshop, staff and service users sat in a big circle. After introducing ourselves, people volunteered to read out 1 of 10 different ‘magic moment’ stories. We then put the 10 stories spread out on the floor. People were then asked to move to which ‘magic moment’ story that they thought was the most ‘magic’.

We all had different opinions and reasons behind our choices and using a Exploratory Talk approach, we explored the values, assumptions and implications of what we all shared and discussed.  The stories I heard about, showed me that anything is achievable and there is no such word as can’t. Sometimes you’ve just got to persevere. It just goes to show that by giving the best to your ability you can achieve anything that you really put your mind to. What I really did find was it was really inspiring and it made me realise how lucky I’ve got it compared to some people.

Since the workshop, I have trained in Community of Enquiry and am now a volunteer helping to run more ‘magic moment’ workshops. I have also recorded my own ‘magic moment’ with the BBC Listening Project. You can hear it here or read a copy of my ‘magic moment’ here. I have also shared my ‘magic moment’ with senior people in Welsh Government and encouraged them to learn from it.


I am a Contracts and Commissioning Officer in Bridgend County Borough Council. I have been working with the DEEP programme on the remodelling of our services to carers.

This work commenced with a conference where delegates were introduced to our development work, along with research evidence around supporting carers and good practice examples of services elsewhere.  There were lots of good conversations in the conference, and we collectively developed a vision statement in the form of a poem. You can read a copy of the poem here

Following on from the conference we held two Exploratory Talk workshops with carers to gather their views on respite care. You can read some key quotes from this workshops here.  Through our participatory development work, it became clear that we needed to rethink our respite care services and widen choices for people.

We learnt from the evidence of Shared Care Scotland, and their concept of ‘short breaks’. It was clear that we should strengthen links with tourism and were introduced to the concept of and research around social tourism. In order to take this work forward, we supported Linc-Cymru to apply for a Capacity Grant from the Wales School for Social Care Research to establish a Short Breaks and Social Tourism Network. There has been a lot of interest in this network, which is continuing to develop.

You can read about the activities and outcomes of this network here.


I work for a community development organisation called ACE Ely Caerau in Cardiff. We run lots of projects to promote social justice and the well-being of people in our local community, building on their strengths and assets. This work includes a community shop and a heritage project. We used to be funded by Communities First, which came with performance management and evaluation frameworks, which we did not feel really captured the work we did. It was focused on proving rather than improving.  Now we are independent, we want to focus on becoming a learning organisation.

We have been working with the DEEP programme to gather and learn from stories of change collected from everyone involved in our work. We have been using Most Significant Change and Community of Enquiry to help us with this and have been very pleased with what we have discovered.

Many of the changes have been unexpected and heart-warming. People have become energised and enthused through gathering and sharing stories, which was not the case regarding previous evaluation work. If you want to read some of our stories, you can find them here.

Sue and Julie

One of us is a Director of Social Services in Monmouthshire County Council and the other is Chief Officer of Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Organisations.

Whist we are responsible for different organisations we share an interest in collaborative approaches to prevention and well-being. This is a complex are of development and we both felt that traditional project planning methodologies that assume the world is predictable and manageable do not work in this context. We also doubted whether we could rely on just numbers in evaluation. 

Over the last year, we have been working together on a DEEP research project funded by a Capacity Grant from the Wales School for Social Care Research. We have been trained in and are using Most Significant Change and Community of Enquiry in a participatory action research.

We have learnt a lot from our research. If you would like to read about our project and our findings, they are summarised in a project report, which can be found here.