This Co-Production Week, we’re celebrating our speak-out group, Voices to be Heard.

People supported by Hft across the country have the chance to join this forum, which enables them to share their views on the support they receive and the services Hft offers, as well as having a voice within their community.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, national meet-ups of the group have been put on hold, although regional groups have been staying connected virtually. This has provided time and space to reflect on the group’s achievements over the last twelve months, and to develop new ideas on how to support people with learning disabilities to share their views in the future.

A Voices to be Heard meeting in Bradford - photo taken before the coronavirus outbreak
 A Voices to be Heard meeting in Bradford – photo taken before the coronavirus outbreak

 

 

 

Over the course of the last year, Voices to be Heard members have been getting involved in a huge range of involvement activities. From advising on staff recruitment to speaking up about what constitutes good and bad support, they’ve continued to play a key role in implementing positive change within the organisation. Members have also been advocating for other people with disabilities through the Walk in our Shoes campaign, which encourages MPs to visit their local Hft service and listen to the concerns of people living there. To further raise awareness of the issues affecting people with learning disabilities, people have been responding to consultations, and campaigning to improve accessibility and inclusion in their communities, with three members even being appointed to a government disability network. As well as this, people we support have been working with health professionals, the police and other local services to raise awareness.

At national Voices to be Heard meetings, a wide range of issues has been discussed with members, Hft staff and Trustees. They’ve ranged from discussions around improving communication and making information more accessible, and sharing views about topics such as friendships, relationships and sex, supported employment, personal safety and bullying, and citizenship and voting.

Just as importantly, Voices to be Heard members have had fun, made friends and become more confident in the process. Here’s to another year of speaking up and making a difference!

Amy Gordon, Involvement Coordinator at Hft, said:

“It’s been brilliant supporting Voices to be Heard to grow this year and connect with more teams across Hft. As a result, people we support have become more actively involved in shaping our fundraising campaigns, in staff recruitment and training, sharing views on key areas of support and service delivery, as well as speaking up key issues affecting people with a learning disability. Covid-19 has made it difficult for groups to meet and connect but we’re working to ensure people can continue to have their say and still be actively involved.”   

Find out more about involvement at Hft