Our CEO, Ben Reed, and Membership Officer, Lisa Lonergan, feel a regular update on our website, telling you about the work we are doing and the opportunities that we get presented with for our members would be a beneficial addition to our lines of communication. Our Membership offer and organisation is already driven by our members. Our Membership Officer Lisa would like to build on this and encourage more participation from members, and potential members, to ensure your voices are heard on the issues that you feel passionately about and have lived experience in.
The Direct Payment Support Service Norfolk meeting is looking for people, who use Direct Payments, to join their meetings to discuss ways to make their information and service more accessible. A second opportunity is for people who pay for their social care and would like to be part of the Reference Group that has been formed following the judicial review of social care charges. The group aims to work with Norfolk County Council to share the lived experiences of disabled people and to build long term relationships with people who use social care services. As always, Lisa would be happy to have a chat about any of these opportunities and offer her support to anyone who is interested in joining either meeting.
North Norfolk District Council contacted us to see if any of our members would like to feedback on the proposed plans for North Walsham Town centre. We reached out to our members living in that area and several members responded, giving a voice to disabled people in their community.
Suffolk Law Centre, in co-production with people with autism and learning disabilities, is offering a workshop to “recognise and challenge discrimination” for people with autism and/or learning disabilities. Lisa has contacted all members and groups to offer this free workshop and is delighted to have facilitated Opening Doors to be the first group to attend.
Lisa will be attending the next Norfolk All-age Autism Partnership Board Employment Working Group meeting, to see if it is something Equal Lives could feed into to represent our members. The All-age Norfolk Autism partnership was set up to respond to the Autism Act 2009. It aims to help develop improved services for children, young people and adults who have, or who may have autism. You can read more here: https://www.norfolkautismpartnership.org.uk/norfolk-autism-partnership/
Lisa also attended Norwich Access Group’s AGM. Norwich Access Group are a member group of Equal Lives. They are a group of disabled people who campaign for better access to all aspects of life in Norwich and the adjacent area. They are always looking for people who are interested in better access for all to join them. If you are interested in their work, you can read more here; http://www.norwichaccessgroup.org.uk/index.shtml
Our CEO Ben Reed, member of the Disabled Persons Organisation Forum has agreed with the response from the forum to the governments green paper on disability. Equal Lives are concerned that the government's approach to working and engaging with disabled people has been poor. This has led to solutions that fail to address the issues disabled people are facing. We hope that the new Disability Minister, Chloe Smith, will change this. You can read the Forums response here.