Grassroots charity promoting the right for people with learning disabilities to have a choice about how they live their lives

Our #NoBedTimes Annual General Meeting – the ideas

29
Nov
2017

For the past 4 years we’ve run our Annual General Meeting as an ‘Open Space’ conference. The format really lends itself to enabling people with learning disabilities, paid staff, carers, volunteers, friends (and anybody) to work equally together in discussing an issue or problem that we’re facing. This year we decided that we ought to go back to basics and discuss the issue of #NoBedTimes.

Inspired by the research undertaken by Hertfordshire County Council and Calderdale Council in their ‘Bed Time Audit’ (which in turn was inspired by our work) we thought it would be a good to see what ideas we could come up with. This will hopefully inform our work over the coming years.

Why #NoBedTimes?

As ever I’m always keen to point out that the point isn’t about whether you get to Stay Up Late or not, it’s whether you get to make that choice.

Of course if you can Stay Up Late it’s much more likely that you’ll have a better social life and feel a more equal member of your community.

Not being able to Stay Up Late also indicates that it’s the ‘system’ that’s trying to support people – and the system is never going to be able to do that well.

Rotas are there as a tool to help organise support staff so they’re working at the times that will best support people. Unfortunately a lot of the time we’ve got this the wrong way round and it’s the rota that staff are working for.

This means people with learning disabilities can’t be supported in a truly person centred way and frankly telling people what time they have to go to bed is treating them like children.

#NoBedTimes - World Café

The format this year was a ‘World Café’ style conference with small group working at tables, but where all the participants get to circulate and contribute to each others’ ideas.

 

One thing we never like doing at Stay Up Late is just moaning about problems. When things clearly aren’t going well we want to find solutions. We’re not happy to just accept that this is the way it is.

We asked two questions

  1. What barriers are each of us seeing that are stopping people with learning disabilities staying up late?
  2. And what ideas do we have to remove these barriers?

Here’s the ideas that came out

1. The barrier - Financial barriers

What’s the solution? 

  • Budget my costs for everything for my night out

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

  • Money skills, and research ALL the costs

What will success look like?

  • Once a month I start to get to go out

How can we start?

  • Plan the budget and make a list

2. The barrier - Support workers shifts

What’s the solution?

  • Share Gr8 support stories to show people how to think creatively – what’s possible.
  • Speak to commissioners and start a campaign
  • Campaign in an area to show what’s not okay and what is okay.

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

  • Flexibility
  • Tie it in to local contracts
  • ‘The egg sandwich’ – an example of how to recruit new staff. Involving people right from the beginning and finding out what it is that they need.
  • Having more ‘real-life’ expectations – having fun really is more important than getting the washing up done!

What will success look like?

  • Happier staff
  • Less staff turnover
  • Better quality of life
  • Compromise
  • A change in the power balance
  • People going out more

How can we start?

  • Sharing each others’ strengths
  • More honesty
  • Sharing stories

3. The barrier - Transport availability

Transport availability can determine when people go out and come back.

What’s the solution?

  • A shuttle bus (mini-bus) that goes to and from venues frequently
  • A minibus offering a safe space. The driver also needs to be a good listener

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

  • Money – funding
  • Availability of drivers – trained and aware of disability issues
  • Could be volunteers
  • Properly staffed

What will success look like?

  • Will give flexibility for people
  • People can leave early if they want to, or stay later
  • Trained drivers which make mini-buses a ‘safe haven’

How can we start?

  • Raising funding, and making cases for funding
  • Get groups/charities to bid together especially if they have the same service users
  • Heightening awareness of the need for this service
  • Networking

4. The barrier - Negative attitudes and lack of awareness

What’s the solution?

  • Keep going out (Gig Buddying)
  • Shared learning
  • For Gig Buddy and volunteer – personal empowerment and confident communication
  • Building relationships with gig buddy.

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

Learning together

  • Shared learning – creating opportunities to get together gig buddies and volunteers (training, learning, sharing)
  • Talk about the best way to make a difference
  • How to challenge
  • Who should challenge
  • When to challenge
  • Where to challenge
  • Share the fun and experiences
  • Some sort of info that gig buddies can give out to people

Keep doing what you’re doing and then some!

What will success look like?

  • People with learning disabilities can go where they want, when they want, to do what they want
  • Diversity is celebrated and appreciated
  • Remove challenge and replace with confidence

How can we start?

  • Keep going out…and help more people to go out in other places
  • Set a date for the shared learning
  • Make a plan for the programme
  • Flyer for venues about Gig Buddies
  • Set a time to talk about working with venues
  • Work out who else is doing some of this work (Accessible venues)

5. The barrier - Resources

What’s the solution?

  • Partnerships with different organisations

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

  • A lead organisation that tries to get others to collaborate

What will success look like?

  • Organisations working together
  • Training

How can we start?

  • Mutual goals

6. The barrier - Staff rotas finish at set times.

Having to go home early to fit the rotas

What’s the solution?

  • Engage support staff – their views and ideas too
  • Management of organisations – test more flexible approach to staff hours and rotas
  • More flexible staffing hours becomes the norm

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

  • Get everyone involved on-board
  • Parents too – so they don’t worry about safety and perhaps block change
  • Get support staff who work just for the evening – to go out with people
  • Training from other partners – people who’ve done it

What will success look like?

  • Happy
  • Confident
  • Freedom
  • Smiling
  • Independence
  • More of a culture of can go and do and learn stuff, more contact with people and more sociable

How can we start?

  • Get one house to agree to test
  • ‘Social life champions’ – could be from Stay Up Late
  • A model others can learn from and replicate

7. The barrier - Public and general awareness

What’s the solution?

  • More info available at venues
  • Make gig buddies ambassadors
  • Local and national visibility

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

  • Visible presence at gigs and festivals
  • Print and film opportunities
  • Venue/band endorsements

What will success look like?

  • More Gig Buddies at gigs
  • More of a shared gig responsibility
  • Staff rotas changing

How can we start?

  • Leaflet distributiuon
  • Awareness delivery at local gigs – telling the crowd they would have to leave now (at 9pm) if they had a learning disability

(We had a post-it saying ‘Love this idea’ for this one)

8. The barrier - protective parents and carers

What’s the solution?

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Campaigning
  • Building relationships and trust
  • Transparency

What’s needed to make the solution happen?

  • Time
  • Relevant contacts – parent/carer
  • Enthusiasm and dedication
  • Resources – media, skills, humans
  • Flexible communication skills
  • Sharing experiences (positive and negative)

What will success look like?

  • Fun
  • People doing what they want
  • Autonomy
  • Happy
  • Well-being
  • Joyful
  • Independence

How can we start?

  • Face to face contact with service users and carers
  • Talk
  • Being clear about missions, values and demonstrating safe practice

Next steps

We’ll be taking all these ideas to our next Storm and Thunder, and Trustee’s meetings, and the team are going to be having a good old think about what opportunities there may be for next steps. Some will be down to funding and some will be around making connections that we already have and seeing what can be done.

As ever all our ideas get passed through our ‘Ideas test’ which is our way of working out what ideas are the best ones for us to work on, and to explain why we may not work on other ideas, even if they’re really good ones.

Our ‘Ideas Test’

  1. How much does it cost?
  2. Is it practical?
  3. Is it fun?
  4. Does it make a difference?
  5. Can we make it last?
  6. Are we the right people to do it?
  7. Do people with learning disabilities want it?
  8. Does it fit with what we do as a charity?

We’ll keep you updated on what ideas we’re going to develop in to new pieces of work.

Keep in touch to find out more.

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