Podcast Episode: C-Change
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
MM - Michael McEwan
CW - Cheryl Walker
MM OK and we're at the C-Change office in Glasgow and we're joined by Cheryl Walker. Now Cheryl Walker is a PR in Marketing, Development Officer at C-Change. So Cheryl, can you tell us first of all what is C-Change?
CW C-Change is a supported living organisation. We've been in existence for about 15 years now. We're actually celebrating our 15 year anniversary. And we support people with disabilities and additional support needs to live the lives that they choose. We recognise that at different times in people's lives we all need support. So we want to make sure that we support everybody to be as much as a citizen as they want, and to help them live the best life for them. Our work is based on a human rights approach and making sure everything we do meets these principles of human rights, including participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and legality. So, we have designed and developed support arrangements for many people over the past 15 years, to ensure that their skills and gifts and needs are recognised. And the support arrangements are tailored to their specific needs providing excellent examples of innovative self-directed support. In the initial years, C-Change focussed on transforming the lives of adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues living in the long stay institutions such as Lennox Castle Hospital. Most individuals that we supported back then had been assigned reputations for challenging services. Our early successes were based on supporting individuals to move out of the long stay institutions into their own homes. So they are therefore taking greater control of their lives and connecting with the local communities. In more recent years we have been working with individual who are on the autistic spectrum, have maybe had a head injury, MS and other health conditions or really just anybody that just needs that wee bit extra support to get the life that they want.
MM So, what support do you provide to people?
CW We provide a range of support, really just depends on what they need. What we do is we listen to people, we learn from them and we work alongside them. And we help them work out what it is they need. We see ourselves as the least important in the person's life. We're there to release/facilitate the support that they get. So we want to make sure people are living in the community and they're part of their community, that their voice is being heard, that they've got dreams and aspirations and these are being met. Looking at what people's capabilities and qualities are and making sure that they have ordinary valued lives.
MM So what is your mission at C-Change then?
CW Well we believe that everybody has got the right to be part of their community and we believe that, as I said earlier on, that we all need support at different times in our lives. So everybody can flourish and become active citizens. So we want to make sure people have power control over their lives now and in the future. People want friendships and independent relationships. You know we'll help them achieve that. We want to make sure that people, as I said, have their dreams and aspirations met, that they're part of their community, that their capability and qualities have been recognised.
MM This is not only C-Change's office - you've got more offices?
CW We have a base here in Glasgow, and we also have a base up in Aberdeen. But we work across North Lanarkshire, Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire.
MM And are you trying to open any more offices, or is that enough at the moment?
CW Well that's a ... we haven't got any plans as far as I know. I mean really the offices are a base for people in the organisation that work here. We're very much work out in the community for individuals in their own homes and in their .., as I said, in their community. So this is really just somewhere for us to base ourselves. So at the moment I don't believe there's a need for us to be opening up any other offices. But if there is any more I let you know.
MM So, tell us a bit about your inclusive board that you've got at C-Change.
CW Well what we do is we have an inclusive board of directors and we have some members on the board of directors who are people that ... we support people that we work for. And they have been supported to be participative members of the board. One of the board members, he has been on the board for about, I believe it's about 5 or 6 years, as an inclusive board member, but he also chairs the improvement council that we have, which is a forum for people that we work for to have their voice heard within the organisation. So we believe that we work for individuals. So we believe that they should have a say in the direction of the organisation. So it's really important that they have representation from people we work for on the board, and any other forums that are around the governance and the steering of the organisation.
MM And you told us early on this is a big year for C-Change. 15 years as an organisation. And you're celebrating some events - tell us a bit about your 15 years at C-Change and also what events have you got coming up?
CW Well its 15 years since the organisation was founded. It was founded in 2001 and over the years there's been a lot of success of people who work for them. A lot of people have achieved a lot. They've reached their goals. The organisation's achieved a lot and there's been so many things that we want to celebrate. So we're running a series of events. We had our AGM just last week where we had some people we worked for coming in and telling their stories of change and transformation. We had one of the directors of Dates N Mates talk about the past 9 years of Dates N Mates, which is a friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities. And it's run by adults with learning disabilities. And we've also had the launch of Dates N Mates Renfrewshire - that was 1st event back in January. And we've also had a few other events and we've also got some more planned. The next event is a BBQ and walk in the Strathclyde Park and that's on the 19th of August and that's really good. So a lot of the events are basically open to everybody and then it gets people in the organisation, people out with the organisation, friends of C-Change, stakeholders, you know anybody, to come along and celebrate with us through these events. It gets people together, very much a sense of community and inclusion as well. So the events are all very different, which means people can take part in some of them, or all of them, depending on what their interest is.
MM And to they have to phone and do they kind of ... ?
CW Yeah, it would be good if ... once we publicize the events on our Facebook page and also on our website, so it's good if people let us know that they want to take part, so that we can sort of manage the numbers and things, you know. But they've been really busy, the ones we've had to date, have been really, really busy. And they've been great. And we're taking photographs and footage of most of the event as well. So we're going to create a legacy of everything so that we can capture it all, and people can look back at it you know and see what was happening.
MM What we'll do is we'll put a list of the events on the website as well so that more people can come along as well. So how can people get support from C-Change and can they just phone up or can they just walk in or how does it work?
CW I mean the best thing for people to do if somebody has - I mean everybody that wants a supporter from C-Change they would need a budget, you know. We're very much ... and what we do is we wouldn't say we have all the answers for individuals. We need to get to know people as well and listen to them and work with them to look at what their outcomes are going to be. You know, very much taking the self-directed support approach and making sure the person is in control of where their life is going. We're there and we need to facilitate that and support them and to help them. Do a service design, and plan and review. So if people were interested in C-Change, you know, becoming a provider for them, then they would just need to get in contact with us. They can speak to myself or they can contact one of the directors through e-mail or through our website. Or they can sort of pop in or make an appointment with us and we'll happily speak to people.
MM And have you many people coming through your door in the past year or ... cos the numbers go ... ?
CW We have had a few people, we have, we get referrals from Social Work. We have people contacting us because they maybe heard about us, they maybe know somebody that we support already. You know there's various ways that we get people approaching us to support them. You know, again it has to make sense for the individual. We may need to be the right organisation for them. And we need to be able to offer them the right support that they're looking for. And if we're not, we'll send them elsewhere. But you know we want to work with people that we feel that we can help and make a difference in their life and help transform their lives.
MM And I take it you work around individuals, cos not everybody's like the same?
CW No we work ... we're very flex ... work flexibly. You know it's very much about what makes sense for the individual and their support. It's not about what suits the organisation. You know it's very, very flexible. Everything we do is - the person's is at the centre of everything we do in terms of any planning we do with them.
MM So this is your turn now to promote C-Change. If you can give us the website first of all?
CW It's www.c-change.org.uk.
MM Yip. And your phone number and Facebook, if you know that?
CW Phone number is 0141 4272946.
MM Yeah, OK then, well thanks for your time Cheryl.
CW Thank you.
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