I can do Ballet like you (and many other things!)

This week’s blog was an entry to the Short Story category of our 2016 Creative Competition where we asked entrants to tell us ‘What does a fairer Scotland mean to you?’. In ‘I can do Ballet like you (and many other things!)’, Diane Cowan tells us about her love for Ballet, Pilates and writing.
Read More “I can do Ballet like you (and many other things!)”

People in Scotland at the forefront of change

“A social movement that only moves people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution.”Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can’t Wait

It seems extraordinary that it has been just 10 years since the birth of the ALLIANCE. A decade ago, the voice of the people who use health and social care services was muted. Now, people in Scotland are at the forefront of change. Read More “People in Scotland at the forefront of change”

“None of us is better than all of us”.

At the ‘2 Million Expert Voices’ ALLIANCE conference on 23rd May the afternoon brought a panel and Q&A session based on the Five Provocations for the Future of Health and Social Care. These have been generated through cross-sectoral discussion groups tasked to consider what is needed to transform Scottish society so that all citizens are able to thrive. The provocations are: courageous leadership; nurturing transformation; target culture; emphasising humanity and ceding power (see http://academy.alliance-scotland.org.uk/about-the-academy/five-provocations). The three panel members each focused on a different provocation in their talks.

Jackie Maceira, convener of the Scottish Disability Equality Forum, illustrated the importance of emphasising humanity when he described his experience of applying for self-directed support not for personal care but for a personal assistant so that he could remain involved and active in the community. He was taking an approach that was considered somewhat novel, trying to do things in a flexible way to achieve what was meaningful. Barriers that arose around which category to ‘put’ him in, or “but we don’t do it that way” were subsequently overcome, a social worker represented his request to the panel and ultimately he received the personal assistance. Jackie’s message of hope was that life-changing outcomes can be achieved when there is an emphasis on humanity.

Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, addressed the issue of nurturing transformation, pointing out that people need to know what their rights are in order to assert them and hold duty bearers to account; something we need to work on in Scotland. Judith reflected that often there are individuals within services doing things as we want them to be done, but in order for this to spread and become the norm it is vital that those people and their positive practices are truly valued and nurtured. As Eleanor Roosevelt said “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home…”.

Oliver Escobar, Director of What Works Scotland, took both courageous leadership and ceding power as the prompts for his talk, although he highlighted that ‘ceding’ power might also be seen as ‘sharing’ power… or even creating power by involving 2 million experts. Oliver emphasised the need for a shift from an ethos of individual, ‘heroic’ leadership to recognition that the best leadership is collective, with facilitators bringing together people who need to have difficult conversations. Grassroots community work alone is not enough, he stressed; those at strategic level need to be engaged in order to influence investment, aid decision-making and effect transformational change on a large scale. Oliver advocated devolution to a local level and not only the participation of lobbies but actively seeking the voice of the seldom heard. An overarching theme was the need to move from seeing health and social care integration as a question of services to seeing it as a matter of power, politics and democracy.

Questions from the attendees stimulated discussion and comments about the politics of partnership, the importance of those providing a service having knowledge about human rights, and the view from Oliver that sometimes those collaborations which involve constructive conflict can actually be the most productive. The role of advocacy for individuals was a recurrent theme in people’s stories, with one person’s reminder that even those who are empowered and capable of defending their human rights can be just exhausted by it. Tokenism and overuse of jargon were cited as barriers to participation, while positive examples from as far afield as Melbourne and West Dunbartonshire were presented to illustrate willingness to cede power and do things in a different way.

Take-home messages for me? Particular challenges may include the necessary culture shift described by Judith – maintaining accountability but moving away from a culture of blame and defensive practice and towards a culture of looking for learning. I would argue that much work can be done in the early years, in schools and in parenting support to nurture such a culture. Opportunities for doing things differently are ripe in Scotland right now, with developments such as the new Mental Health Strategy and the work of the Integration Joint Boards. Above all, I was reminded of the power of collective action by Jackie’s “None of us is better than all of us”.

National Conversation on a Healthier Scotland – South Lanarkshire

The ALLIANCE and Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire would like to invite you to a Conversation Café hosted in partnership with the Health and Social Care Academy.

This pop up café will be held in the Town House, Hamilton on 1 February 2016 at 10am arrival for a 10.30am start until 12.30pm.

The conversation café is an opportunity for citizens to engage with each other and share their views on:

  • What is needed to help you live well in the future?
  • What support do we need in Scotland to live healthier lives?

Following the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement at our recent Citizen Wellbeing Assembly of a National Conversation on creating a healthier Scotland, the café will provide an opportunity for constructive conversations around health and wellbeing which will form part of a dialogue on the future of health and social care in Scotland.

The ALLIANCE is committed to working with Scottish Government to ensure that all voices are heard, especially seldom heard voices and those of people with lived experience. Your views matter and are key to the conversation. This is the first of a series of events across Scotland to give a voice to those who use support and services.

Please help us share details of this event.  If you are interested in attending and contributing, please register with Eventbrite to confirm your place or call 0141 404 0231.

Being a Young Carer: My Experience by Sophie Dishman

Having been a young carer for 10 years now, since the age of 11, I can say I have a considerable amount of experience. I care for five members of my family and I have my own life too, as well as dealing with my mental health problems, being a full time student and volunteering. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Read More “Being a Young Carer: My Experience by Sophie Dishman”

The Heart of the Matter

Christy Ringrose, a student at the University of the West of Scotland and some of her classmates have taken inspiration from the Dementia Carer Voices Campaign and produced an album of songs from the pledges made to the campaign so far. Christy shares her blog now with the Academy.

Since the moment I met Tommy Whitelaw from Dementia Carer Voices on the train, I felt like he genuinely cared about ME, and was interested in who I am. This is caring. It makes you feel special and valued. Everyone should feel like this, whether they are losing themselves in an illness, or using all of their time caring for others.

Read More “The Heart of the Matter”

A Letter To My Eating Disorder

Winner of the Health and Social Care Academy’s Creative Competition 

Dear Ed,

Who do I think I am? You know I’m unable to answer this question and you know the anguish and pressure I place myself under to try and answer this daily. It was you who robbed me of my sense of self, you who manipulated, hid and tarnished Megan. How ironic it is that you open your letter to me with that question.

Read More “A Letter To My Eating Disorder”

Putting personal experience at the heart of Integration

One of the goals of health and social care integration is supporting people to play an active role in health and social care, both at individual level and in planning, decision making and improvement.

The event, part of the Health and Social Care Academy Integration Series will:

  • Highlight how people can be decision makers in their own health and social care and in support and services (person perspective)
  • Share how we can listen and act on views and experiences (practitioner perspective)
  • Explore how we can involve people in the planning and quality of their own care in order to create effective engagement and ensure positive outcomes (clinician perspective)

The Integration Series are a set of short events focussing on key themes in relation to health and social care integration.   This series is designed to help people deliver integration in a way that reflects not just the structural requirements of the Public Bodies (Joint Working) Act, but that makes real the ethos clearly set out in guidance.  This demands new ways of working, including: shifts to preventative approaches; co-production with the third sector and with people and communities; a focus on the outcomes that matter to people; and a human rights based approach.

The Integration Series will offer a space for us all – including people who use services, frontline staff, service and policy planners and leaders – to share learning, inspiration and collectively seek to address some of the challenges in delivering this transformation.

Email event@alliance-scotland.org.uk or call 0141 404 0231 to register your place.

A full agenda will be available shortly.

National Conversation on a healthier Scotland – North Ayrshire

National Conversation on a healthier Scotland

The ALLIANCE and North Ayrshire Third Sector Interface would like to invite you to a Conversation Café hosted in partnership with the Health and Social Care Academy.

This pop up café will be held in the Ardrossan Civic Centre, Castle Craigs Lounge on Friday 27th November 2015, at 11-1.30pm.

The conversation café is an opportunity for citizens to engage with each other and share their views on:

  • What is needed to help you live well in the future?
  • What support do we need in Scotland to live healthier lives?

Following the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement at our recent Citizen Wellbeing Assembly of a National Conversation on creating a healthier Scotland, the café will provide an opportunity for constructive conversations around health and wellbeing which will form part of a dialogue on the future of health and social care in Scotland.

The ALLIANCE is committed to working with Scottish Government to ensure that all voices are heard, especially seldom heard voices and those of people with lived experience. Your views matter and are key to the conversation. This is the first of a series of events across Scotland to give a voice to those who use support and services.

Please help us share details of this event.  If you are interested in attending and contributing, please register with https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/national-conversation-on-a-healthier-scotland-north-ayrshire-tickets-18932941939 to confirm your place or call 0141 404 0231.