News - November 2021
So...nearly 18 months since I last posted a news update...and quite an experience its been with lockdown ups and downs, no travel until earlier in the summer (very different but very welcome) and some new work alongside the opportunity to pursue passion for wood turning and getting out on the bike across Dartmoor.
Here goes with the news then....
Wishing you all well,
This is now my longest working relationship and one I value so much. Being able to walk alongside so many people north of the border and keep the energy going to get sensible self-directed support options in place for children, young people and families has and continues to be really good work to be involved in.
The ongoing programme of Lunchtime Sessions has been really successful with good attendance and all sorts of practice and local examples shared. Key to the work over the past year has been our development of a simple workforce survey that goes on to inform support and local improvements in SDS. For me the work has also the realisation of an ambition to work with and visit the Shetland Islands. I can now say I've worked on the Shetlands and the Scilliy Isles ...most Northern and most southern!
'Will we listen?' - Lumos
The final report and handy guide were published in October 2020. The report documents work with three young people with complicated histories, lives and support needs. The project was heavily impacted upon by COVID19 so it ended 12 months early.
However there was a great deal of learning particularly about online working. The report was well received by all parties and a couple of NHS webinars were held including one that joined up with Bisser Spirov, Lumos lead in Bulgaria.
To read the report please visit 'Will We Listen? and to download a one page guide to listening please click on the photo.
The Support Ed Road
Over the past 12 months I've been lucky enough to be part of the Education Team at Support Ed. Support Ed are a small and well respected support provider in Plymouth. They have started a programme of support to children and young people who are risk of exclusion, often already excluded and who are experiencing difficulties at school and often home. Working with Tim, James and others my role was to start simple person centred plans that helped the young person to think about their dreams and where their life could go. It was brilliant! We put together a series of short sessions (allowing for attention spans of young people) and using blackboards at the office and then big sheets of paper when the office was closed due to COVID I was working directly with young people drawing and writing up their thoughts. The power of planning like this, asking about hopes and dreams, valuing what the young person had to say and subsequently hearing about the outcomes of some of those discussions including the purchase of an old moped to do up and two huge pumpkins was simply awesome. The simple things are always the best ...just listen!!
Independent Care Co-ordination
Building on my work with Lumos I have been involved in supporting a small number of people currently living in institutions in England. The work, under the title of Independent care Co-ordination has been challenging and at times really rewarding. I've had a role of communication facilitator, advocacy support and planner. There's a lack of detail here as its very much personal work with individual and obviously confidential. It's been a real case of working out what contribution I can make to improving people's lives, its been difficult but I've met some great individuals and felt useful. Most work to date has obviously been online, although having the chance to meet face-to-face is always best I feel that the flexibility of online working, the lack of carbon contribution to the climate and the better life balance makes it a real option in the future.
Dom na Krasu and Crna, Slovenia - Closing Institutions
In September 2020 I was asked to join a Project Steering Group overseeing the closure of two institutions (making a start) in Slovenia; one was Dom na Krasu an institution for people with mental health support needs, the second Crna, an institution fo people with intellectual disabilities. Its since been a year of online meetings, letter writing and support to a cracking team in Slovenia led by the Institute for Social Protection. Not only have I been working with good friends Andreja, Katarina and others but I've had the chance to work alongside Jan Pfieffer who is leading a closure programme in the Czech Republic and Robert Mezzina who was part of the closure programme in Trieste, Italy since the beginning in 1972. Most recently we all spent a week in Slovenia visiting the institutions, meeting with Ministers and civil servants and others. It was a hard week of work, it always is with the team in Slovenia but hopefully it was both helpful and useful. The photo is of a conker I picked up from the car park at Dom na Krasu ..the conker is a seed...in this case I so hope its a seed of change!.
Five Case Studies of Deinstitutionalisation
Working with Professor Anne Rosken in Germany and Dr Peter Fusezi in sunny Sheffield I completed a project for EASPD. The final report centred on five examples of what we initially hoped would be 'complete closure'. Sadly examples of complete closure are hard to find so the examples document five examples; Italy, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland and Moldova and provide a useful 'go-to' evidence base for work across Europe.
Click to Read
Being Seen, Being Heard and Making Things Happen
Last summer I joined a team of people led by AllfIE working with the RipStars a group of young disabled people. All the work was online, there was some great graphic facilitation and products from Stephen Lee Hodgkins. The two pieces of work included interviewing elders of the Disabled people's movement, designing resources that would help future leaders and starting to think about a strategy for change. It was brilliant being part of the team, meeting some really talented young disabled people and seeing the end products. To find out more please visit these pages Being Seen, Being Heard and Making It Happen
The year ahead!
New and ongoing work with the team in Slovenia, further excursions north of the border, more work with individuals in complicated circumstances, and am sure plenty that I can't foresee.
And...time to continue what became a passion over lockdown...wood turning, so watch this space for more news about this and 'TurnedByLangworthyBrook' :-)
Looking forward to catching up with you maybe ....just drop me a note and hope to speak, mail or message soon, good wishes, NIC