Building a bridge to the future – the #SocialCareFuture gathering 2023

Watch and read highlights from our 5th birthday celebrations in Manchester in October 2023, download presentations and find links to organisations and resources shared

A message from #SocialCareFuture convener, Anna Severwright 

Wow, what a fantastic two days we had in Manchester, celebrating our 5th birthday, looking forward, planning together and launching our new animation voiced by the fabulous Liz Carr (please keep sharing it). It really boosted me, being among friends, feeling so much energy in the rooms and hearing many great conversations and ideas. It was so full of life, love and hope.

A #SocialCareFuture gathering is not a #SocialCareFuture gathering without lots of singing, dancing and general merriment and this year was no exception.  We enjoyed and joined in with performances by Maff Potts and colleagues from Cameradoes who led us through a mass singalong of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ (our unofficial theme tune), by the incredible choir of the Support and Action for Women’s Network (SAWN), by DJ ‘Dave the Rave’ Tanner and by #SocialCareFuture regulars MiXiT who sent us a beautiful new piece called ‘See me’.

As an unfunded movement we have had a real impact, but we all agree that there is much still to do to enable all of us to experience the #SocialCareFuture vision in our lives, whether we need support or not. It will take ALL of us, playing our part, to make that happen. As I said in the opening session “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead) so let’s keep moving forward together and see what we can do in the next 5 years!

A special thank you to Leighton Wise for capturing the two days so beautifully in the film we’re sharing and to all of you who made it such a success!

Below we have summarised what happened across the 3 ‘zones’ and you can watch videos, and click on links to download presentations and resources.

The Storytelling Zone

The storytelling zone explored different ways to change the public narrative on social care and those of us who draw on it to live our lives.

Throughout the two days, Certitude London ran ‘Connect & Do’, using arts and crafts to bring people together to connect, learn and develop together.

On day one we heard from Dora Buckle from the Centre for Ageing Better about their positive images of ageing project and explored how it could be expanded to encompass positive images of drawing on care and support in later life. You can download Dora’s slides here. 

We also explored the role local councils can play in shaping our local residents think and feel about social care in their area, in a session chaired by David Brindle and involving Caroline Williams, Director of Adult Social Services at Warrington Council, Dave Tanner who draws on support in Warrington, Beverley Tarka, President of ADASS and Neil Crowther and Leighton Wise who worked together on a communications package and film for the council.

On day two, Neil Crowther led a session giving the background to Social Care Future’s work to change the narrative and our new animation

The People Power Zone

The people power zone explored different ways for those of us who draw on support to grow and use power to pursue the change we all want to bring about.

Throughout the two days, Camerados hosted a public living room. They also shared lessons learned on building a movement and how to set up a public living room.

On day one we heard from John Evans, recalling the history of the independent living movement and shared his thoughts & wisdom on uniting people to continue this aim.

We also heard from Tricia Nicoll who shared her newly launched ‘gloriously ordinary lives’ framework and the four tests ‘a lens through which to view any support we consider for a person or their family.’

Andy McCabe from Access Social Care shared information on the law and the plans for making the law and people’s rights more accessible using digital technology.

On day two, we heard about a project supported by the Health Foundation to explore the role digital technology could play in supporting more people to successfully direct their own support, with Karen McCormick from In Charge and James Sinclair from Care City inviting people’s ideas and contributions.

Julie Stansfield from In Control, Anna Severwright & Andy McCabe facilitated people sharing ideas on people power, exploring “who” would be the ones to give inspiration or learn from their leadership, “what” needs to be done and “how” we can achieve this.

The Building Bridges to the Future Zone 

The Building Bridges to the Future zone explored what practical action we can take in our different roles and together to make strong moves towards Social Care Future’s vision.

Our session on the Time to Act Roadmap, with Association of Directors of Social Services President Beverley Tarka set the scene for collective work to identify the “bricks” we needed to build our bridge to the future.

Watch out for a piece soon fulling these ideas together to help drive forward our plans.

Also on the first day Jeanette Sutton, Karen Young and colleagues from IMPACT and Research in Practice shared their great practical work connecting evidence and positive action for change – with a focus on co-production in the process.

We also had a great session from the More than a Provider group, led by Kathryn Yates and colleagues from MacIntyre, exploring the role of support providers in making the Social Care Future vision happen, sharing their collaboration focused on supporting great lives and connected communities.

Day two in the Bridging zone saw a series of six sessions sharing initiatives that are building the bridge to a better future.

From vision to coproduced strategy and action, with Sarah Craggs, Angela Catley, Bryony Shannon and colleagues showcased how practical coproduction in Doncaster and Nottinghamshire is driving changes to strategy.

In Using the Law: Going for the Win-Win, Access Social Care shared a win-win approach to local legal issues in social care.

Living in the place I call Home, with friends from Shared Lives Plus and Community Catalysts encouraged participants to build a home, identifying the what and how is needed

In Fixing the “Plumbing and Wiring” of social care with Simon Stockton, Ali Smith and Martin Routledge facilitating, we explored the rules, regulations and ways of working that frustrate us when striving to put vision into practice and heard about an initiative trying to do something about this (slides)

Members of the Equipment Matters group including Isaac Samuels, Paul Rackham and Angela Catley gathered ideas and shared their work on improving coproduction in equipment commissioning and provision. 

In Communities Leading Support, Jenny Pitts, Karyn Kirkpatrick and colleagues from National Development Team for Inclusion and KeyRing  explored how communities and networks are vital to leading the lives we want to live with glimpses and examples of great community led support and networks.

Until next time!






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