Getting More of Life
Improving the Timeliness of Person-Centred Approaches
Who We Are and What We Did
Kimʼs story –which she shared with teams from Bristol, Cumbria, Kent, the Northeast, and Worcestershire who gathered at Cranfield on 7-8 February 2005 at David Towellʼs invitation– expresses the principles that shape the implementation of Valuing People. Exchanging support with friends, Kimʼs independence has grown as her choices have grown. Her choices have grown as she and her allies –firmly convinced of her rights– have negotiated the changing terms of her inclusion in mainstream housing and adjustments in the assistance she uses.
We came together to learn more about how to build the local capacity to offer many more people the kinds of opportunities that Kim experiences. These are everyday choices about where and with whom to live and with what support. But offering the opportunity for everyday choices calls for complex adjustments in the beliefs, relationships, and practices of specialist and mainstream services.
The group included people involved in self advocacy, person-centred planning coordinators, managers of service providing agencies, and commissioners of services. This was the third workshop in what we plan to be a series of similar events. The records of the first two workshops are available at www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/ NorahFry/Strategy/papers.htm or from David Towell firstname.lastname@example.org.
The core question in each of our three workshops has been, What will it take for person-centred planning to lead to better lives for big numbers of people? This question grows from a twofold realization. Committed people can create remarkable results by working in person-centred ways, as Kim and her friends have done. And, many people will be excluded from access to these results unless there are deep changes in the culture of specialist and mainstream services.