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People doing it for themselves – development

People who are older or disabled sometimes need care or support to live their lives. The help that people need can overshadow their skills, interests and talents, and these can remain unseen and untapped. The money going into support is often misdirected and delivers poor outcomes. The waste of talent is a tragedy for the individual and impoverishes their communities.

In 2019, we got a small amount of funding from the Big Lottery Community Fund to develop the People Doing it for Themselves Project, finding, connecting and learning from leaders who also use care services. We wanted to better understand the conditions that enable people to believe in themselves and use their gifts, for example to start an enterprise or group or lead change in their local community. The aim was to gather evidence for a big bid to the lottery, asking them to fund a really exciting 3 year project, across England, Scotland and Wales, with coproduction at its heart.

Sadly the bid wasn’t successful so we decided to invest in this work ourselves, and developed a 5 month project to test and enhance the learning from phase 1. We worked in the South West Midlands and the North South West – covering council areas like Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Birmingham, and Telford and Wrekin. We worked with disabled leaders and the organisations that supported them, offering the help that people needed to succeed. Coproduction was at the heart of this mini project, and a strong coproduction group guided and informed the direction of our work.

“We want to shine a huge spotlight on the positives. Strengths instead of needs, citizen instead of service user, can instead of can’t.”

Community Catalysts