I used to have a busy career, working in Hotel Management in London but when my health deteriorated in 2016 I moved back to Telford to be close to my family.
Due to the degenerative nature of my illness I found myself going from needing minimal help and support to being completely reliant on care – all within 12 months. In 2017, after a dramatic down turn in my health put me in hospital, I wasn’t able to walk for 18 months. During this period I became very depressed and it was at this time that my social worker suggested that I go along to Making it Real. I didn’t say very much at the first two meetings I attended. I had really low confidence and wasn’t really sure what I could contribute. Fast forward and I now Chair the meetings and I’m actively involved in developing and shaping Making it Real in Telford. I have made new friends and have had opportunities such as working with the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), travelling around the country speaking to organisations about Community Led Support and the value of working collaboratively with their local communities. I am currently working with the University of Chester supporting the Social Work Degree programme.
I am the mother and main carer to my adult son who is severely autistic, non-verbal and suffers from health issues.
I joined the Making It Real Board to share my own experiences of using services. I have learnt a great deal about adult social care and really feel that I am helping to make a difference. As someone who accesses services on behalf of my son I feel well placed to highlight areas that I don’t think are working well and in doing so, hopefully I’m helping to improve the system for others in a similar position to me and my family. Making It Real gives me direct access, not only to a network of other people who use services but also to council leaders and those responsible for formulating policy.
My Social Worker told me about the Making It Real Board during a review of my care and support.
My Social Worker told me it would be a great opportunity to join the board to help shape the future of social care and that the Board wanted to work with people with lived experience to ensure that they are heard and valued. I have been able to learn from being part of the board about how Adults Social Care works and the processes that are in place. I feel like I am actually being listened to, my opinions and thoughtsare taken on board and I am able to share my experiences, which also shows that each situation is unique to each individual.
I feel empowered and I now know what is going on with my care and support, I am engaged in any changes and decisions. The decisions I make, no one tries to tell me I am wrong and should be doing things a specific way. I feel like I am in charge and in control of my care.
I was invited to join Making It Real Board after I had issues with my care and support.
I switched to a Direct Payment and employing Personal Assistants. Being part of Making It Real Board has enabled me to raise solutions to issues. I campaign for change, not just for me, but for others who have the same or similar issues. I raise issues on behalf of myself and others, who may be experiencing similar problems and by finding a resolution to the issues, they are then resolved for all. Being part of the Making It Real Board gives members chance to make it easier for others to navigate and discover what they need and who to contact for the issues they have.
Last updated: 06/07/2021 13:47