On 2nd February 2021 – Our progress so far!
CDA started a Leadership Programme in the summer of 2020.
Six CDA members have been working hard on their designs for changes they want to lead locally, which will benefit local Disabled people.
The group came to some short training workshops online which introduced ideas about how to lead change. Then each person chose an issue they are passionate about and is close to their own experience as a Disabled resident in Camden and decided on their vision for how things could be different.
Then they went away to make a “Change Plan”- a short plan to help them think through how they are going to make change happen.
Our 6 leaders are focussing on a very wide range of issues and have come up with some really interesting change plans. These include:
Anna’s “Go Campaign” aims to improve access for Disabled people to local leisure and business venues.
Another leader wants to make sure Disabled people have better support in the transition from school into independence and employment, with better and fairer access to work and other opportunities. He believes “Everyone deserves employment and the ability to have wealth and growth in their life if they work hard and shouldn’t be stopped by ignorance, prejudice and bad attitudes”. He’s working on plans to change the way employers think about Disabled people and improve recruitment practices. He’s also working on ways to improve the ways schools and colleges support Disabled young people with planning for adulthood.
Joy wants to improve the way people are supported when they leave hospital. She is planning to influence health services to work with Disabled people to improve discharge support. She believes “Involving Disabled people in the design of support will result in more effective solutions that benefit from people’s real lived experience”
In these difficult lockdown times when people are having to do so much online, Fatima worries that many people with learning difficulties don’t have the right support or computer equipment to get online. She has got really good at using Zoom so now she is designing Zoom training for other people so that “everyone who uses zoom can talk to family and friends to know how they are and to get help if they are worried”.
Another of our leaders wants to make Camden a safer place for Disabled LGBTQ+ residents. “People have bad attitudes. I want to change people’s minds about Disabled people and Trans people”. She plans to use her interests in fashion and music to get her message out to people in a creative way – through films on social media.
Our last leader has a lifetime of experience of both discrimination and power as a strong Disabled woman. She is thinking about how to use her lifetime stories creatively to empower and inspire Disabled people and raise awareness of invisible boundaries. She’s exploring ways to do this and has started learning about podcasting.
The group have a range of support to help them reach their change goals:
- Regular peer support meetings where they can share their ideas, update each other on progress and solve problems together. The leadership group includes a rich mix of ages, cultural backgrounds, and people with very different impairments and life experiences. This creates interesting and lively conversations, with lots to learn and share with each other about life as a Disabled person in Camden, and how to lead with strength and pride.
- They have regular individual coaching from the Programme Facilitator, Alex Hendra who ran a similar programme for Inclusion London last year: “I’m really enjoying working with you all on your really interesting change projects. It’s sometimes a hard journey to lead change and make progress, particularly during these really difficult lockdown times. I’m so impressed by the passion you all bring and am delighted to be working with you all on breaking down the barriers that can stop Disabled people from taking control and leading action”.
- Anna Storm, Director of SignPals, has also come on board to help manage the project and make sure our leaders can get access to all the training and other support they need to make progress. Some leaders are also getting access support from Carly.
Finally, the group can access individual or group training that will support them make their change happen. Last month they had training on how to run a campaign, provided by Inclusion London, who will do more training on this in the next few months. Anna says “I like how he explained the basic principles of campaigning. I’m looking forward to learning about working with parliament”.