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Hampshire Now

Involving people in shaping services

Wheelchair table tennis

Putting people first lies at the heart of developing modern and effective services in Hampshire.

Who better to help the County Council and its partners develop fully inclusive and flexible services offering people choice and control than the people who use services.

That is why Hampshire County Council is working with SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living to help develop strong partnerships between organisations led by people who use the Council’s services and other partners in the social care market.

The aim is to enable people to have more say and influence in the way future services are developed and delivered, ensuring they continue to meet the changing needs of Hampshire’s diverse population.

SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living works with user-led organisations such as Hampshire Centre for Independent Living, Carers Together, All-Inclusive, RAISE Mental Health, Choices Advocacy and the newly formed Disabled People’s Voice Hampshire.

Networking events bringing together people who use our services, carers, voluntary sector support groups and other agencies have already been held in Fareham, Basingstoke and Eastleigh to explore the role everyone can play in developing accessible services. More networking events are in the pipeline for the coming year.

The different experiences and perspectives of the user-led organisations (ULOs) help the Council and other service providers plan services which are inclusive, accessible and provide the right support in the right place at the right time, enabling people to live as independently as possible.

Rachel Harrison from Disabled People’s Voice Hampshire explains why the development of ULOs is important: “When you involve people at the right point you can save money in the longer run and ensure that services, facilities and activities are fully inclusive so that people are not restricted in carrying out day to day activities. It is not always about big costly changes. It may be something simple like painting the walls a contrasting colour to the rails in accessible toilets to help visually impaired people as well as people with a physical impairment. The ULOs help bring people together to discuss the issues affecting them. Sometimes we find solutions to problems ourselves from other groups’ experiences, perhaps preventing the need for more intensive intervention at a later stage. Hampshire is a big place. The ULOs help people feel informed and give them confidence that someone will listen and their opinions are valid.”

If you want to find out more about user-led organisations and how you can set one up and have your say in the development of policies and services which affect you, visit SPECTRUM website. Alternatively, you can contact Roger Fenn at SPECTRUM on 023 8020 2937.

 

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