How did we get here?
On the 14th and 15th of November people who are passionate about supporting each other to make positive change are coming together to think radically about social care. Nearly 300 people have volunteered to come along to the Friends Meeting House and People’s History Museum where we aim to contribute to a developing social movement.
For too long we’ve had similar conversations with similar people in different rooms – people who commission social care, people with responsibility for providing services, workers, citizens, community and voluntary groups and people who use social care, and their families. We’ve seen national initiatives come and go – but we haven’t managed to change things dramatically.
We’ve been under tremendous challenge, especially during a period of unprecedented cuts. But, In fact, we’ve seen glimpses of what the future might look like…
- Using all resources
- Putting co-production at the heart of social care
- Exploring new types of organisations – human sized and shaped, community led and embedded
- Changing the way support is provided and looking at new professional roles
- Transferring power and resources to people using social care
- Seeing the whole person to better understand the role of housing or health
After last years’ National Children’s and Adults Social Care Conference many of the participants asked “What would a different gathering look like?. Could we take a radically different approach?. What would that look like – how could it be more diverse and inclusive? What are the most important questions that we need to answer at this point in time, November 2018? Who needs to be involved and who do we need to influence”?
What’s important about this gathering?
- This is not a conference. It’s a gathering of people who want to build a positive future for what we currently call social care. It’s volunteer organised, a developing network of people discovering, sharing and building from glimpses of the future.
- At the gathering we will all be active contributors. We are inviting people to come who want to be part of this future and will commit to play a part in building it by sharing, learning and organising. They will include local citizens, professionals, politicians, managers, providers of support, user and family led groups.
- We will be arranging a range of ways to help learning and sharing – what have people done, what difference has it made, what lessons have been learned, what helped, what are the next steps, what would help these happen? As well as structured sessions there will be “open-space” to organise there and then to respond to people’s interests.
- It will be energising and social as well as informative and action-focussed. We will be sharing what we do outside the room, immediately reporting sessions and plans so others can connect. There will be fun too. The gathering will include an evening social gathering, pieces of theatre and performance and the chance (optional!) for you to join in! It will be hosted to bring you in, not keep you separate, whoever you are.
- It will be sustainable. We will create opportunities for people with similar interests or energised by things they have heard and discussed, to plan for action after the gathering. #socialcarefuture will offer whatever help it can to support these action groups with links and contacts and communication over the following year. We are deliberately running the event to coincide with the National Adults and Children’s Social Care Conference taking place nearby at the same time. We are making sure there are good links and some joint sessions and inviting people from that event to our gathering. This gives us a chance to bring together all voices with a stake in the future to find ways of working to make it a reality.
What’s going to happen over the two days?
It’s going to be an extremely busy, exciting two days. The main focus will be debates, sharing and planning around key themes. These include:
- System leaders, politicians, community and voluntary groups, local citizens exploring “glimpses of the future” from 6-8 places where power is being shifted to people and communities.
- Making a new case for social care based on new research and with a major proposal for action
- Everyone in what are the best examples including everyone, including those most at risk of exclusion and how to do it – how can these be built on everywhere?
- From the margins to the mainstream Sharing and learning with groups and initiatives helping local places to move more quickly to a better future where effective innovations complement or displace traditional models and practice: including: Well-being teams, Community Catalysts, Homeshare, Three Conversations, Community-led social work, Community Circles, Manchester Cares, Spice Time Credits, Volunteering Matters, Grapevine, Keyring, In Control, Circle and many more
- Closing the Care Act Rhetoric-Reality Gap – Join in with the developing National Network for Self-Directed Support for a practical session of sharing and learning about how people can get the support they need and the lives they want.
- Building a movement for a better future Learning from other movements for social change from around the world about how we can act together to make faster change towards the #socialcarefuture that we want and organising ourselves for action.
- Providers for a better future – Sharing the best ideas and planning for action about how organisations providing support can be real assets in the communities they serve.
- Human sized, community owned support How can we grow human sized and shaped support organisations that add to communities.
- Social work in the #socialcarefuture Exploring the role of social work in our desired future.
- Researching a better future What kinds of research can support a positive future? Helping plan the next five years of the School for Social Care Research
We’re also going to create an open space for people to show and talk about what they’re doing already. There will be a social evening with dance and drama productions. At the end of the second day a group of participants will be heading over to the NCASC conference to present a summary of the discussions to Directors of Adult Social Services.