Day 3 – February 23, 2015 Jane said to meet her by ‘the Bull’ so …
Day 18 – March 10, 2015
Today was my first meeting with Changing our Lives (www.changingourlives.org) a rights-based organization, led by CEO, Jayne Leeson, MBE, that focuses on ensuring that the disabled community is de-stigmatized and “works in co-production with people with disabilities of all ages to achieve equality, good health and social inclusion [so they] can live their lives to their fullest potential.”
I met Lucy Dunstan, Senior Development Office, at the Lyttleton Arms, a nearby pub in Hagley. A charming and passionate lady, she told me about the great work that the 13 year old organization is doing.
This included programmes such as the Young Voices Network, the Quality Crew, and the Rights Squad in which all the activities are co-produced by the young people themselves!
She also spoke about other projects such as the Poets First where a Poet Laureat worked with young people to use poetry as a means of self-expression; Rights for All, a 12-month programme through which a group of disabled young people are mentored and trained to develop their leadership skills to influence local and national policies as well as support their own personal goals. Really amazing work!
The idea of ‘co-production’ of all activities is a fascinating one, and I have encouraged the Changing our Lives team to explore opportunities under the Commonwealth Fellowship programme for two persons (a young disabled leader and a support adult from Jamaica) to come to the UK to work with them and learn their strategies for replication back home.
After a delicious lunch, compliments of Lucy, I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my personal and professional goal development, while waiting for an old friend to collect me to spend the night with himself and his wife in a beautiful little nearby village called Peopleton. A real life country village, I was fascinated with their home which is centuries old and spent the evening catching up with small talk by the cosy fireplace.