Together for an Equal Life

Martin Routledge
It was great to discuss Good Lives with Sam Clark from Learning Disability England (LDE) this week. The Good Lives framework, published in March, brings together people’s thoughts and ideas about what it will take for everyone with learning disabilities to be able to live their good life Good Lives: Building Change Together – Learning Disability England. It is described as “hosted by but not controlled by LDE”.  In this way the framework is a way of starting debates and steering action. This aligns strongly with the approach the Social Care Future (SCF) movement is taking and creates great mutual opportunities. We discussed how the broad SCF movement benefits greatly from the involvement of other groups and movements which bring together people facing particular discriminatory barriers such as people with learning disabilities. And those groups can gain strength and power by being part of a wider movement striving for an equal life for all.
 
Being clear about this feels important. The forces for the status quo are strong and unity of key goals and action feels very important. But this is supported, not weakened, by movements taking forward their own struggles. Our movement is about breaking down the disabling barriers to an equal life faced by many in society. Most of these are common but some are particular or of special importance to certain groups. It is also true that groups that have come together in solidarity around common experience of discrimination have their own histories and stories that are important in choosing the focus of their shared struggle. These issues then need to inform the priorities and action of the wider movement.
 
So it feels important to have both the priorities and actions of particular groups acting in solidarity and the coming together of these groups to find common goals and strategies for greater strength. A really good illustration of this in action is in the linkage between the LDE coordinated work started by 40 self-advocates in Birmingham in 2020 and the Whose Social Care is it Anyway inquiry, led by a diverse group of people who draw on social care. LDE supported work to build on the thinking over 2 years about a good life – asking what life would be like and what would be in place if good progress had been made towards the SCF vision. You can see what people said in the great graphic done by Pen Mendonca at the top of this blog. This experience and thinking was added to that of contributions from other people and groups to help shape the “Five Key Changes”
 
 
So if you haven’t already have a good look at Good Lives. And if you are involved in taking forward action from the Good Lives Framework lets keep thinking and linking to the Social Care Future movement – influencing it and contributing to it. Together for an equal life!
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