Equal People Mencap

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Equal People Mencap's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Equal People Mencap is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.equalpeoplemencap.org.uk

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | SCHONFELD SQUARE CARE HOME
Kindness and compassion
Our community is bound together by
our deep faith in our primary goal:
to establish a scheme that would
provide kindness and compassion
and provide an opportunity for
elderly people to practise their faith.
As people get older, they often
become more religious and search for
a meaningful existence. Our home
gives people a chance to achieve
that. We have constructed all the
necessary infrastructure so they can
practise their faith, including our
beautiful synagogue which is the life
of our community. Prayers are held
three times a day and much of the
community, regardless of age, comes
together in this remarkable space.
Alongside the synagogue, there are
also places for study and lounges for
activities, as well as every resident
having their own flat. Those that
struggle to use the facilities are placed
in accommodation which suits them,
with many having en-suite bathrooms
to ensure dignity, privacy and comfort.
Maintaining our standards
Our primary challenge is to maintain
the high standards that we aimed
for when we first established the
scheme. We must always remember
and conserve the altruism and fervour
that led us to establish the home and
ensure we can continue to channel this
into our day-to-day operations. Key to
this is upholding our mission statement
and our aim to take care of the elderly
with respect and compassion while
allowing people to play out their
faith without being embarrassed
orchallenged.
Future expansion is looking
increasingly likely. We currently have
a waiting list for the first time in
many months and are caring for 80
people across both homes. I was not
considering expanding our site further
until we were sure there was a need,
but the waiting list proves the need
has arrived. Alongside our profile
growing, and therefore more people
from the local area wishing to enter
into our community, the exceptional
care we provide to our residents also
means they live longer. To ensure we
are still able to meet the needs of our
local population, we are planning to
expand further and continue to create
more space, giving our community the
opportunity to grow and thrive.
Our mission
statement and
our aim is to
take care of
the elderly
with respect
and
compassion
while allowing
people to play
out their faith
without being
embarrassed
or challenged
Main entrance for the
home of the elderly
33EQUAL PEOPLE MENCAP |
CARE
Chief Executive Nic Walsh
Zumba time
In the past year, 280 families and vulnerable individuals in
Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster have chosen Equal
People Mencap to provide their support. Founded in 1987, it
offers 24-hour support to adults and young people with learning
disabilities, mental health issues and physical disabilities. Chief
Executive Nic Walsh tells
The Parliamentary Review
that clients
come to Equal People because it listens, cares, works alongside
each person and is guided and led by the service user.
We began in 1987 by providing 24-hour support to ten adults with learning
disabilities in a registered group home in Earls Court. Today any vulnerable
individual in the bi-borough can request a service. Our members include people
with learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, those experiencing mental
health issues and those affected by the Grenfell fire disaster.
We now provide over 800 hours a week of one-on-one independent living and
community support and personal care and 40 hours a week of supported group
training programmes and activities across the boroughs. Over 95 per cent of
members report an improvement in their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing,
90 per cent report feeling less isolated and alone, 15 per cent of those we support
are in paid employment, including 10 per cent of our own workforce.
How we achieve our goals
1. We listen to the personal stories, not case studies, and work alongside
individuals with the same rights as everyone else. Each person has their own,
needs, wishes, dreams, passions and connections.
FACTS ABOUT
EQUAL PEOPLE MENCAP
»Chief Executive: Nic Walsh
»Founded in 1987
»Based in west London
»Services: Floating support, day
opportunities, community
support, personal care, drop-in
and advice
»No. of employees: 56
»CQC: “Good”
Equal People Mencap
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | EQUAL PEOPLE MENCAP
2. We act on what we hear by
supporting, enabling, challenging
and building a network of support
that gives each individual the best
chance of living the life they want.
3. We monitor and review the
outcomes, both individually
and overall. Are we making a
difference, are people achieving
or moving towards their goals?
Are the vulnerable individuals we
support not just accessing the
community but participating in
and influencing it too? Where
are the gaps? What can we learn
from our mistakes, incidents and
the complaints we receive? How
can we listen and communicate
better, be more accessible, more
representative?
4. We listen and act on what is said.
Complete service
Three years ago, we only supported
those aged over 18. A care manager
asked if we could support a child
and thanks to word of mouth, our
ongoing staff training programme,
our commitment to facilitating a
network of support involving all those
important to the person and successive
good inspection reports from the Care
Quality Commission we now provide
250 hours a week of one-on-one
support to children.
At the same time, we identified that
individuals and carers from ethnic
minorities were underrepresented in
our services. Better networking and
hosting a variety of information and
social events, combined with working
hard to improve our communication
and accessibility to all, means that
today we support families from
30 different countries speaking
25different languages.
Being user-led is central to our ethos
and values; whether this is in our work
with individuals or the charity as a
whole, it is vital the user of the service
is the one who controls the choices
made and the direction taken.
The charity has member input,
feedback and representation at every
level: feedback on each support
session or activity, monthly feedback
on support, floating support and
activity advisory groups and two
council of management meetings a
year that are open to everyone to
review performance and suggest ideas,
activities and our future direction.
Fifty per cent of the council of
management are service users ensuring
the user voice is heard and holding us
toaccount.
It is the voices, thoughts, ideas,
histories, passions and frustrations of
everyone involved with Equal People
mencap that matter to us. It is their
wishes, aims and needs that inform
our vision and drive us forward. We
are Equal People.
Funding challenges
I’ve worked at EPm for 30 years,
in many different roles. It is so
rewarding to see people we support
grow in confidence, become more
independent, achieve their personal
Growing our own
vegetables
Our own home
Demonstrating
value for money
and keeping
costs as low as
possible is
essential.
However, good
care costs
money
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | EQUAL PEOPLE MENCAP
2. We act on what we hear by
supporting, enabling, challenging
and building a network of support
that gives each individual the best
chance of living the life they want.
3. We monitor and review the
outcomes, both individually
and overall. Are we making a
difference, are people achieving
or moving towards their goals?
Are the vulnerable individuals we
support not just accessing the
community but participating in
and influencing it too? Where
are the gaps? What can we learn
from our mistakes, incidents and
the complaints we receive? How
can we listen and communicate
better, be more accessible, more
representative?
4. We listen and act on what is said.
Complete service
Three years ago, we only supported
those aged over 18. A care manager
asked if we could support a child
and thanks to word of mouth, our
ongoing staff training programme,
our commitment to facilitating a
network of support involving all those
important to the person and successive
good inspection reports from the Care
Quality Commission we now provide
250 hours a week of one-on-one
support to children.
At the same time, we identified that
individuals and carers from ethnic
minorities were underrepresented in
our services. Better networking and
hosting a variety of information and
social events, combined with working
hard to improve our communication
and accessibility to all, means that
today we support families from
30 different countries speaking
25different languages.
Being user-led is central to our ethos
and values; whether this is in our work
with individuals or the charity as a
whole, it is vital the user of the service
is the one who controls the choices
made and the direction taken.
The charity has member input,
feedback and representation at every
level: feedback on each support
session or activity, monthly feedback
on support, floating support and
activity advisory groups and two
council of management meetings a
year that are open to everyone to
review performance and suggest ideas,
activities and our future direction.
Fifty per cent of the council of
management are service users ensuring
the user voice is heard and holding us
toaccount.
It is the voices, thoughts, ideas,
histories, passions and frustrations of
everyone involved with Equal People
mencap that matter to us. It is their
wishes, aims and needs that inform
our vision and drive us forward. We
are Equal People.
Funding challenges
I’ve worked at EPm for 30 years,
in many different roles. It is so
rewarding to see people we support
grow in confidence, become more
independent, achieve their personal
Growing our own
vegetables
Our own home
Demonstrating
value for money
and keeping
costs as low as
possible is
essential.
However, good
care costs
money
35EQUAL PEOPLE MENCAP |
CARE
goals, find work, get married, have
children and contribute to their local
community. It can be very frustrating,
too. Everyone should have control
and choice over the who, how, when
and where of their support. Personal
budgets enable this. There is a massive
disconnect, however, between
statutory commissioners promoting
the personalisation agenda and the
care managers on the ground who
say no, there is no money and who
do assessments that focus only on the
most basic needs.
If promoting personalisation and
choice continues to be a cover for
cutting statutory social care finance,
it is likely vulnerable individuals will
become ever more isolated, unhealthy
and at risk and only visible at point of
crisis. Equal People has quadrupled
the number of support hours bought
from us by our members in the
last six years. We receive four new
referrals every month. We recognise
that demonstrating value for money
and keeping costs as low as possible
isessential.
However, good care costs money. Our
staff must be adequately rewarded; all
are paid at or above the London Living
Wage, and we have regular training
and opportunities for progression.
It is our staff who work alongside
each individual and who are available
24 hours a day to listen, enable and
empower them to take their place
in society. It is our staff who ensure
that we and everyone we support are
EqualPeople.
It is vital that the
user of the
service is the one
who controls the
choices made
and the direction
taken
»INDIVIDUALS WHO TOLD US THEIR STORIES
P: “The borough tell me I don’t qualify for any support. I can’t read or write and need help with all my
correspondence and my tenancy. Drop-in staff at EPm help me. I had a capacity for work interview and got all the
tests wrong. They still gave me 0 points and said I had to apply for work. They send me information about jobs
but I don’t understand it. It’s scary, they say I could get no money and lose my home. Equal People are helping me
to challenge them and find work too.”
N: “I am 66. EPm’s minibus picks me up each week so I can go to the Harrington Club in the evening. I see all
my friends there. It is the only evening club for older people with learning disabilities in the area. If Equal People
didn’t exist I would have nowhere to go.”
R: “For the past 16 years I have lived in my one-bedroom flat near Portobello Road. I have a learning disability but that
is not the most important thing about me. I come from Jamaica and love being part of the Caribbean community
in Ladbroke Grove. I work as an advocate and represent both Equal People mencap and the local advocacy service
on the Learning Disability Partnership Board. I sit on Equal People mencap’s Council of Management. I make
sure our members’ voices are heard and our wishes and needs respected. I think making everything accessible,
information, transport and jobs, is really important. I helped EPm design their easy read and pictorial information.
The council only gives me enough to buy two hours of support a week so I come to Equal People’s drop-in every
day to get more support and see my friends. I do some of their free activities and training programmes too – IT,
catering, gardening, relaxation and massage, yoga and current affairs but I know a lot of this is because we have
grants from trusts. The council should give more to vulnerable people like me and to charities like us. The cuts are
wrong. What would happen to us if Equal People wasn’t here?”
We are Equal People

www.equalpeoplemencap.org.uk

This article was sponsored by Equal People Mencap. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development