At our June meeting we had a fun packed agenda! We had a visit from Gemma and Alice for an update from the Local Offer. Alice, our Local Offer Young Person Champion, has done a lot of work on the ‘My Important Stuff’ documents since coming to us the last time after hearing our members voices on it 😊
We then had a long discussion about Independent Living and what it means to us and what the barriers are for young people with SEND. With this piece of work, Sian was taking it to the SEND Strategic Partnership Board June meeting to share the voice and lived experience of the members. We wanted to share some of the views with the readers of SEND news, which is below 😊
“What does ‘Independent Living’ mean to the Unstoppables?
- Living independently
- Living away from parents
- Live with friends
- Assisted living.
- Paying bills, doing the cleaning, and cooking my own food
- Living on my own but with live-in carers
- Handling my own direct payments
- Being able to grow my confidence on my own.
- Money handling
- Living with dogs, cats, and horses.
“What do the Unstoppables think the barriers are to independent living?”
- Lack of life skills – don’t feel we’ve been taught this enough, mainly from our experience from Mainstream Education
- Accommodation – some places do not accept pets, which could mean no guide dog or emotional support animals.
- Finances – “supported living would use up all of my Personal Independence Payment so does not feel financially possible”.
- Trust – “my family have concerns about how I would be by myself and question my abilities”.
- Group home may not always be the best option – I would become very overwhelmed if I had to live with people I didn’t know.
- Lack of information given to us – travel training/ mortgage / rent support
- Correct building for us – the building chosen for us would need to be able to meet our accessibility needs. I.e. wheelchair access or to support our visual impairment
- Public Transport – not wheelchair accessible
- Location – one Young Person got offered Manchester.
- Personal care
“What do the Unstoppables think would help overcome these barriers?”
- More financial support
- More opportunities to gain life skills training – whether this is when we’re at school/college or sessions run somewhere to help us learn for when we live on our own or whether we’re still at home. I.e., finances, how we can pay bills, rent, everyday tasks in the home like washing our own clothes.
- Accessible information and more awareness of where we can find existing information, for instance Local Offer
- Support from family, friends, and professionals in our journey for as much independence as we can safely have
- Mental health and wellbeing support for transitioning into independent / supported living.
- Buildings to be more accommodating – wider doors for wheelchairs, or open plan for those of us with visual impairments.
- More information and opportunities for travel training to happen.
- More opportunities to have independence.
- More 1-1 support available for personal care to make independent living more accessible for those who need personal care done for them.
The feedback from the board was a very positive step forward and can be shared once it is fed back to the members of Unstoppables. This topic will continue to be discussed more as it is a very important topic to the members of the Unstoppables.
The next two months meetings are a little different for the forum, we’re attending two events which should be so much fun, and we look forward to updating everyone on that!
If you or someone you know would like to be a member of the Unstoppables then follow the link to our new form Expression of Interest to join The Unstoppables (office.com) 😊
Similarly, If you or a young person you know wants more information about how they can join the Unstoppables, or be part of our work they/you can contact us via email (SENDParticipationTeam@somerset.gov.uk) or via phone/What’s App (07976 809 773).
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