Podcast Episode: We Chose to Climb!
Category: Self-directed support
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.
MD - Michelle Drumm
CB - Charlie Barker
MD We Chose to Climb was a three-day event or ‘climb’ that was held over 16-18th March at the Arches in Glasgow. It was an event that brought together those interested in discussing and exploring the principles of self-directed support. Iriss.fm spoke to Charlie Barker of Social Care Ideas Factory - she tells us more about it.
MD Charlie, just tell me, you are the brain behind this event - what’s it all about?
CB Well this event is very much about how we get together, how we forge relationships, friendships, with each other, understand what each other’s view of the world is, and how we can extend greater choice and control to people. We have decided to go down the path of having an event that is very much back to basics, back to understanding the values and the principles around what self-directed support act is all about. We kicked off … Day1 was very much around the theory and the research that has been done into, I suppose some of the proven practice around self-directed support. We have speakers who have travelled from Sweden - the European Network for Independent Living - we have got Jaime Bowling here, who kind of gave us a whistle-stop tour of Europe and what’s happening there in the independent living movement - some of the challenges, some of the hiccups, some of the successes that they are having, and also just lots and lots of learning that we can translate. And we have also had the wonderful Simon Duffy, who has obviously come from the Centre for Welfare Reform - and being a kind of … I suppose he would now class himself as the grandfather of self-directed support. We have been able to kind of enlist Simon to come back to Scotland and tell us about how it all started - because it really started at a kitchen table in Scotland, and in Glasgow, and the setting up of Inclusion Glasgow and lots of other initiatives in North Lanarkshire. And I suppose what he’s doing, is doing a kind of an overview of some of the challenges and also some of the learning that he’s … the journey that has been on over the last wee while as well, over the last 10-15 years.
MD What would you like people to go away with from the event?
CB Hope - I would like people to feel more hopeful about what is possible when they are not alone and they are working alongside each other and they are supporting each other. I think that our event has been pretty successful in also pulling together a lot of really diverse speakers who have lots of challenges in their own lives, as well as lots of professionals as well. And I suppose for me, with the backdrop of lots and lots of external difficulties to do with lack of money, lack of resources and what not - the hope that actually combined and working together we can make things happen for people - because ultimately people’s lives are ticking by while we are talking about it.
Over the course of the three days, people were asked to think about one question, ‘What do you need to make your way in the world?'. Here are some of the responses captured, as well as other reflections on the event.
F: I need my family round me - that’ one of the main things that I need, and I also need to be able to work and I also need money. I thought the morning was amazing - the lady from Switzerland, Jaime, I thought she was really inspirational - I very much liked her speech, I thought it was great.
F: One of the things I definitely need is my independence and my freedom and family and friends around me - they are the essence of what keeps me going.
F: Trust - to be allowed to try what I want to try.
M: I think it’s a trust in myself, a willingness to take on my own … be my own guide.
M: I think an obvious answer probably also is a moral compass, and part of that moral compass is looking within and looking at sort of who you are, what makes you tick, where that comes from, where your values come from.
F: I need to be able to work. I need my family and money obviously. What else do I need? Friends, yes, my friends around me, and be able to just do what I want to do. I was quite impressed by Simon - we came out of … we were part of the Inclusion Glasgow Group when it was starting with Simon, so we work in the way that he’s … and he’s given me some things to think about as well, particularly around the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and also Jaime - she just took my breathe away - she was excellent.
M: What do I need to make my way in the world? Other people, just kind of friends, family is the most important thing I would say.
M: In my world, support from everyone and anyone, whether it’s friends, family, knowing you have got a good support network around you really makes a difference for everyone I think, not just anyone with a disability - but for everyone going about their life, so having that support and knowing where you can tap into it when you need it is vital.
MD What did you think of Jaime’s talk this morning?
M: Outstanding - that’s the second time I have heard from Jamie - the first time was pre his twin’s being born, so he certainly looked a lot younger the last time I saw him, but so inspirational - just pretty much epitomises everything that We Chose to Climb is about - I think, fantastic guy, and definitely well worth being a main stager today.
F: Better understanding I think at all levels - between individuals, between local authority and partners, between countries, with politics I think.
F: Family, friends, support, love, that’s about it - everything else comes after that.
MD Did you listen to Jamie this morning?
F: Aye, it was inspiring, really.
MD Were you at the event yesterday?
F: I was, aye, I was here yesterday.
MD What is the highlight for you so far?
F: Probably Jamie actually, that was really inspiring, aye.
F: In terms of tools, a iPad would be helpful, in terms of my daughter with learning disabilities, support, assessment that was multi-disciplinary and not just about needs, etc, is more outcome focused - and I know we are getting there, but we are getting there very slowly in terms of integration - far more multidisciplinary working, and not including statutory services but the third sector and communities and getting as much support out into communities and away from, I would say, acute services as possible.
F: I think the biggest thing is getting information and where to find out what you do need - I think that’s what it is - a bit of guidance as to where do you start, because it’s a bit of a maze. I was really interested to find out, see Ewan’s guide yesterday, that was a highlight for me, because I thought that’s just a very … a brilliant idea - I just think that’s a really good idea. So I had sent him a wee message last night on their Facebook just to tell them that as well. But I did enjoy that.
F: I need to connect with a lot of the people that are here today to find out what it is that motivates them, what keeps them going and also to see how I can be a part of supporting them and helping them - so for example, gathering what we already know about what works and what is good about self-directed support and how we can use that to achieve even more. I was here yesterday and I started to make some really good connections yesterday and I was quite inspired by some of the speakers. And I got a really good understanding of how to set out the framework for getting a better understanding what works and how we can generate more of it. So yes, I’m starting to get it.
F: I think probably what I need is a little bit more help - I work in a big organisation and I feel a bit stuck and I need other people to really embrace what this change might mean. So I am really hoping the Scottish government are going to take my bid and think “yes, this will make a difference”, because what I would like to do is really work with young people and families to get them to rethink “what does short break support look like?” Because in Scotland, everything is really traditional - we know that it could be different - we know that we can work towards more inclusion, but actually unless we start that journey with families and children, we will still be at it in another 30 years. So more resource I think and more people who really feel in ownership of this agenda.
F: I would need my family and my friends and the support that I thought was helpful, and share it with people that I really love. I really enjoyed hearing about the Highland Project with Jennifer and I enjoyed Simon, as ever, and Alison’s reflections - she’s amazing the way she just captures it all. But so far, it has been brilliant.
F: I really liked the inspirational story from Jamie Bowling - it was really inspirational, although for me, working for a learning disability organisation, what she said about how people with intellectual disabilities are sort of lower in the hierarchy, I think rings really true, because I have been to a lot of events like this where you get really inspirational stories from people who are really intelligent, educated, articulate - and I don’t think it’s quite so easy for people to get good outcomes with self-directed support if they have not got that information or the ability to go and research things for themselves and know what they want from life, because nobody has ever shown them what the options are.
F: I don’t know, I am a bit of the opposite of what they have been talking about, where you don’t plan a good life - I like to plan - I like to know what’s happening and have a plan, have it written down. I would be quite happy to know what I was doing this time next year - so I’m a bit of the opposite of what they have been talking about, that good life’s aren’t planned. So maybe some people, like me, do like to plan their lives.
F: I am really enjoying it so far - I enjoyed Simon Duffy’s presentation, and it make me realise the organisation that I am working for, Partners, is very innovative and it’s forward thinking. So I have joined it at an exciting time as well. So that all made sense to me and the direction that the organisation I work for is moving.
F: Well first of all, great venue - just spilling out of Central Station into the venue was fantastic - and it’s exciting - it just feels different to anything I have ever been too before. Loving it - thank you.
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