Alex Fox had a Social Care Future Conversation with members of Sunderland People First – Matthew Moon, Sharon Bell, Gavin Barr, Paul James, Lauren Baynes, Toni Ann Wood and Jodie Williams
The team described what Sunderland People First does – its advocacy, campaigning and training work. After the virus hit the members faced personal impacts and also the group had to change how they work. There have been real challenges for people, especially around seeing friends and families and getting out and about. Some work and plans have had to be put on hold. At the same time the group have risen to the challenge. They support each other via daily zoom calls and have become familiar with lots of communication tools and aids many were unfamiliar with before. This has allowed much of their work to continue. People gave examples like their continued involvement in the national “Right to Home” movement.
People had thoughts about how managing the challenges of the pandemic could be made easier – in particular strong views about communication of information. Looking forward members of the group were determined that people with learning disabilities and autism should be much more powerfully involved in decision making about things vital to their lives – including government policy