A personal Blog Post from Jane Williams, Director of The Turning Tides Project, in response to this Stay up Late Campaign Blog:
I’m going to be honest too – Paul’s Blog echoes many, many experiences I’ve had over the past 12 years… Performers who don’t arrive for dress rehearsals because ‘there wasn’t enough petrol in the company car’ or ‘they decided to go shopping instead’ or ‘it wasn’t written in the diary’. The accusations of ‘exploitation’ I’ve had levelled at me because yes, I do expect people to make a commitment to the work that they contribute to developing and yes, I do believe that everyone is able to do that given good support and an #Inclusive environment.
The people with labels that are part of The Turning Tides Project, Heavy Load and the Stay Up Late Campaign ARE NOT ‘people with disabilities’, they are ‘Disabled People’. And what disables them is the way that our society fails to act inclusively. The need to have purpose, to create and aspire and the opportunity to be seen and heard are fundamental to our humanity …. A life that is constructed by others around basic needs does not result in a life that’s ‘good enough’.
In my opinion, many but not all, of the people who are part of TTTP have adequate support, some have good support, a few might even have outstanding support... But ‘outstanding’ against a back drop of ‘good enough’ means what?
As far as I’m concerned ‘good enough’ means that it would be good enough for me. A life that is constrained, often subtly, by institutional thinking and the assumption that ‘I can’t’, ‘don’t want to' or ‘won’t mind if we don’t today’ would NEVER be good enough for me. When you’ve had a whole life constrained around such institutional norms, it’s not hard to see why you might not kick the doors down and demand your rights. Mine hasn’t, neither has Paul’s and in even suggesting the door needs kicking open we’re bound to encounter a few frustrations and maybe we’re even bound to see the same ones coming back round time and time again.
I strongly believe that we can all contribute to changing that: a Support Worker who encourages star gazing, values aspiration and understands that both require commitment ; a support service that is ‘good enough’ that you’d use it yourself; a Health and Social Care approach that expects that people will have full and valuable lives , will contribute to their community – not just be warehoused in it; a commissioning approach that recognises that in supporting people to develop ‘good’ lives the initial investment is returned many times over by the impact upon society and seeks to contract with organisations that creatively develop opportunities for individuals to act on their aspirations, a Quality Commission that really gets to measures ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’, not ‘ good enough’ and ‘ outstanding against a backdrop of good enough’.
Take a Social Model Approach, be #Inclusive – be the change you’d like to see in the world.
Can’t wait to hear more about the Heavy Load Re-Union. Stay up Late and Heavy Load had a huge impact on how I see the world and I’m very grateful for that.
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dominic Palfreman