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“All Together, Better” is coming to Somerset

Discovery Latest
18 December 2018

Wouldn’t it be satisfying to change the social care system in Somerset, to see a future which had been influenced by the people who really understand what it’s like, to live in Somerset communities with a learning disability?

Over the past 21 years, more than 2,500 people across the UK have been enabled to achieve just that – to bring real, sustainable change on a local, regional and national level. This has been achieved as a result of Partners in Policymaking programmes. In 2019, a programme is coming to Somerset (All Together, Better) and anyone who has the desire to make a real difference for the future of people with learning disabilities in Somerset, can take part.

About Partners in Policymaking

Partners in Policymaking is a leadership training course for disabled adults, parents and carers of disabled children, professionals and other service providers working in education, health and leisure. It has grown over the past twenty years into further leadership courses and the development of a national network of people – champions who believe that all people should have the right to live the life they choose. These courses have created a lasting legacy on a national and local level that continues to have positive effects within communities.

When evaluating the success of Partners in Policymaking, Professor Chris Hatton of Lancaster University reported that the findings were amongst the most positive of any programme he had evaluated. They showed a wide-ranging impact – directly building the ability of people and their families to direct their lives, enabling people to engage more positively and effectively with services, and building local, and in some cases national organisations to further the interests of disabled people and families.

What’s planned for Somerset?

The programme planned for Somerset – All Together, Better – is being delivered by InControl, in partnership and fully funded by Discovery and its Strategic Partnership Board.

The programme will enable delegates to harness their skills, energy, dedication, values and motivation in a way that enables them to work constructively alongside service providers and local and national government.

The style of teaching on the course will be informal and highly participative. It will include presentations from the best speakers in the country as well as information giving, inspiration, videos and group work. Everyone is encouraged and enabled to contribute and a strong values base of inclusion and disability underpins the programme. These values must be the underlining thread woven throughout every aspect of the training.

The programme also aims to:

  • Give real and grounded information, advice and support to people needing help to navigate the health and social care systems reducing dependency on the systems
  • Create a mechanism for peer support both locally and nationally
  • Influence policy on a local and national level by offering solutions rather than simply presenting the problem
  • Help train commissioners and service providers so they better understand the needs of individuals and families
  • Nurture relationships and partnerships between individuals and professionals as well as local and national government
  • Help people to channel their energy and frustration in more productive ways
  • Provide a mechanism for advocacy
  • Spread the word so as many people as possible know what can be achieved and what works and what doesn’t
  • Help people to get a good life and encourage them to make the best use of all their existing resources and social capital (what we call real wealth)
How long is the programme?

The programme runs over a period of 6 months, with one session per month, starting in Feburary 2019. Discovery will fully fund each course delegate as well as any additional support that may be needed to enable the delegate to be part of the programme. It will be delivered at a location in Somerset, to be confirmed.

What have the outcomes been for people who have been on a similar programme?

Examples of what course participants have achieved since taking part in Partners in Policymaking include:

  • Gaining full time employment
  • Becoming an advocate
  • Running a forum
  • Becoming a national councillor and trustee for a charity
  • Setting up a community interest company to promote inclusion and support for families
  • Setting up a local charity
  • Establishing a local user-led organisation
Don’t take our word for it, hear what others have said about their experiences of the programme:

Before I became a ‘Partner’ I didn’t even know I was a carer; I thought I was just a lone mum! I now work full time in something I am passionate about. Ben had never received any support from the county council. He is now the first recipient of an Individual Budget from Learning Disability services in Essex! He has a PA, independence, choice and SELF ESTEEM! Our lives have been transformed by Partners.”

“I have done so many courses but this one is exceptional in terms of the quality, the impact it had on my daughter’s life and the impact it consequently had on the whole family. I’ve gone on to do countless hours of voluntary work locally and nationally. Most importantly, the direction of my daughter’s life is now totally committed to personalisation, to independence and to choice which would not have happened without the course.”

“The course was truly the most engaging, inspirational and meaningful learning that I have ever participated in. The network that followed helps to keep me strong, supported and most importantly, informed.”

“Quite simply it changed my life. It changed my direction and I have now devoted a huge amount of time to supporting other people to achieve their goals.”

How do I find out more?

Watch this space for further updates about the programme.

If you are interested in taking part in the programme, complete and return the application form. The closing date for applications is 1st February 2019.