On October 08 I spoke at the Disability Wales Conference about my involvement in the Outside In initiative at Glyndwr University. This group involves people who are usually on the ‘Outside’ of universities coming ‘In’ to participate in educating, training and assessing students studying and striving for a career in social work. I then linked the inclusive nature of this scheme to the main focus of the conference, the Social Services and Well-being Act.
The speech went really well. The compere, Adrian Masters of ITV Cymru Wales, commented that I should go into politics while I received positive feedback and new followers on Twitter.
However, the most flattering response was from fellow speaker Rhian Huws Williams of the Care Council for Wales who was inspired to write the following blog:
The root of the revolution….
I spoke earlier this month at the Disability Wales’ Conference. As with all conferences the real value is the learning from the questions and other presentations.
The Minister had spoken about the ambition and the pledge which underpins the Social Services and Wellbeing Act. The shift to working alongside people, not seeing them as problems but focussing on their strengths and their potential. Having conversations with people about “what matters” to them. Giving people a voice in how to deal with difficulties so that they retain control of their lives. My slot was to share with them our work on Training for the Act – what we were doing, where we were up to, how we were doing it and the principles which underpin it all. Then Nathan Lee Davies from Wrexham spoke. He is a young man who is involved in the Outside In initiative at Glyndwr University. He pulled no punches about what was important and what he wanted to be different.
His message was that the revolution for giving people a voice as equals so they could really influence decisions which affected their lives started in 2004, when the Care Council for Wales required social work training programmes to have people who were users of services as equal partners in the design and delivery of social work training.
I was taken aback. We had made that a requirement. We are the only country which has that as a requirement. Over ten years later a young man was saying that that decision had made a huge impact on his life. He felt he was able to be part of the decisions in weeding out people he did not think would make good social workers because they were negative. He felt he was a partner in their training. Our requirements had an impact on the quality of his life. He was not prompted.
We struggle to describe the impact of our work. This is an example I will treasure.
Such words mean a lot and it is empowering to know that my words have had such an impact, especially to such an important and influential figure at the Care Council for Wales.
Whether or not a 38-year-old should be described as a “young man” is debatable, but flattery is always welcome…