A 6-month engagement project with the London Borough of Merton Council as part of a wider piece of work to review what people do during the day.
The project started with an engagement process called the Big Conversation which lasted 2 months between 17th May and the 16th July 2021. The Big Conversation was designed to hear from people who have a stake or interest in daytime support for people with a learning disability and/or autism in Merton.
A Reference Group of people from the 7 stakeholder groups was established and its members guided and supported the work. A webpage was set up to share information. An accessible video was produced to tell people about the Big Conversation and invite them to contribute. 7 electronic surveys were set up – each aimed at one of the 7 stakeholder groups. We worked with Merton Council and local people to invite people to complete these online, join a meeting, make a phone call or share their views in other ways. A communications campaign, led by the Council, supported the process and included updates to the webpage, issuing press releases, publishing articles and using social media to promote. When people shared information with us verbally or in writing we recorded their contribution on one of the online surveys.
We used lots of different ways to engage and try hard to include as many people as possible – hearing quiet voices as well as louder ones. With excellent support from local people and organisations, we held face to face, online and phone meetings, worked with council staff to send paper survey forms to families, promoted the online surveys and invited people to complete them. Day centre, education and other staff supported people with a learning disability and/or autism to complete surveys and completed surveys online themselves. Members of the Reference Group shared information through their networks
In total 381 people contributed to the Big Conversation. Almost 70% of these were people with lived experience of learning disability and/or autism.
Find out more about what we did:
Our interactive project report brings together all that we heard and learned during The Big Conversation. The report represents all the different stakeholder perspectives. The Council aims to take what was learned from the Big Conversation, together with additional work by Community Catalysts called the Big Explore and other strands of work to develop a plan of action.
All illustrations by Sandra Howgate http://www.sandrahowgate.com/