North Somerset People First

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by North Somerset People First'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 North Somerset People First 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.nspf.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
36 | NORTH SOMERSET PEOPLE FIRST
Chief Executive Officer
MichelleBurnett
Members of our walking
group ready for a stroll
along the promenade
North Somerset People First was established almost 30
years ago by a small group of people with a simple idea:
introducing self-advocacy for people with a learning
disability in their region. Their self-advocacy services support
people from the age of 16 to speak up for themselves, be
more confident and improve awareness of their own rights.
CEO Michelle Burnett elaborates on just what self-advocacy
is, and how it helps to improve the lives of those with
learningdisabilities.
We were founded in 1991 as a voluntary, not-for-profit self-advocacy organisation.
In April 2015, we became a charitable incorporated organisation, continuing to
work for, and be led by, the voices of people with learning disabilities.
We offer independent support and training to enable people with learning
disabilities to make informed choices in all aspects of their lives, actively
encouraging them to speak up and become involved in shaping our services.
We tackle issues such as hate crime, employment, health and housing, and work
alongside voluntary sector organisations, the local authority, health services,
colleges and the police. We currently employ eight people with a learning disability
or autism and offer meaningful work experience placements to young people with
a learning disability.
FACTS ABOUT
NORTH SOMERSET PEOPLE FIRST
»Chief Executive Officer:
Michelle Burnett
»Established in 1991
»Based in Weston-super-Mare
»Services: Support and training
for people with learning
disabilities
»No. of employees: 16, 8
of whom have a learning
disability or autism
North Somerset
People First
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
36 | NORTH SOMERSET PEOPLE FIRST
Chief Executive Officer
MichelleBurnett
Members of our walking
group ready for a stroll
along the promenade
North Somerset People First was established almost 30
years ago by a small group of people with a simple idea:
introducing self-advocacy for people with a learning
disability in their region. Their self-advocacy services support
people from the age of 16 to speak up for themselves, be
more confident and improve awareness of their own rights.
CEO Michelle Burnett elaborates on just what self-advocacy
is, and how it helps to improve the lives of those with
learningdisabilities.
We were founded in 1991 as a voluntary, not-for-profit self-advocacy organisation.
In April 2015, we became a charitable incorporated organisation, continuing to
work for, and be led by, the voices of people with learning disabilities.
We offer independent support and training to enable people with learning
disabilities to make informed choices in all aspects of their lives, actively
encouraging them to speak up and become involved in shaping our services.
We tackle issues such as hate crime, employment, health and housing, and work
alongside voluntary sector organisations, the local authority, health services,
colleges and the police. We currently employ eight people with a learning disability
or autism and offer meaningful work experience placements to young people with
a learning disability.
FACTS ABOUT
NORTH SOMERSET PEOPLE FIRST
»Chief Executive Officer:
Michelle Burnett
»Established in 1991
»Based in Weston-super-Mare
»Services: Support and training
for people with learning
disabilities
»No. of employees: 16, 8
of whom have a learning
disability or autism
North Somerset
People First
37NORTH SOMERSET PEOPLE FIRST |
COMMUNITY
The development of A Better
Life
Through our work, we identified that
many people who accessed our services
were experiencing a range of emotional
and mental health difficulties.
Considering that around 40 per cent
of people with a learning disability
experience some kind of mental health
problem at some point in their lives,
our own findings were not surprising.
However, there appeared to be a gap in
primary care mental health provision for
adults with a learning disability in North
Somerset. We were therefore concerned
that this vulnerable group of people
was not being adequatelyserved.
In response to this, we developed a plan
aimed at filling this gap by offering a
mental health and emotional wellbeing
support service. This consisted of short
psychoeducational courses using
evidence-based techniques and following
NICE guidelines for the management
of common mental health problems, a
physical activity group, regular drop-in
sessions and peer support groups to
provide ongoing assistance.
We discussed our plans with various
industry professionals and over 50
people with a learning disability.
The feedback we received was very
positive. Next, we held a workshop with
our advisory committee to support us
in identifying a name for our planned
service. They unanimously agreed to
name the service “A BetterLife”.
We then faced the challenge of
obtaining funding to enable us to
design, develop and deliver our plan.
After a year of completing applications,
we were successful in achieving a large
grant of just under £450,000 from The
National Lottery Community Fund.
We believe that all people with a
learning disability and associated
conditions should be given the
opportunity to create a person-centred
plan or to access independent advocacy
should they need it. This service enables
us to reach many people who otherwise
would not be able to access this kind
of support, despite their difficulties
andvulnerability.
Our commitment to planning for
each person, alongside our advocacy Gathering feedback
at our A Better Life
evaluation event
Around 40 per
cent of people
with a
learning
disability
experience
some kind of
mental health
problem at
some point in
their lives
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | NORTH SOMERSET PEOPLE FIRST
services and speaking-up forums,
have enabled us to support people
with learning disabilities into training,
education and employment. We have
resolved conflicts between service
users and their support services,
supported people to achieve the
housing accommodation of their
choice and prevented many individuals
from entering, or progressing through,
the criminal justice system.
In order to maintain this momentum
and continue to develop our offering,
we are working in partnership with
Bath University’s research department
to complete an ongoing in-depth
analysis of our interventions, which will
include outcomes and cost analysis.
Our knowledge and understanding in
this area lead us to believe that this
early intervention work will enable
people with a learning disability and
associated conditions to be more in
control of their lives and to build up
crucial networks of emotional support.
We think we will also be able to act as
a conduit between the voluntary sector
and mainstream mental health services,
ensuring that we are able to support
all those who require our services,
including those who have been left
behind by mainstream provisions.
Extending our work to all
One of the challenges we have faced,
and something we are considering
when rolling out our new service, is
people not attending our services and
the underlying reasons for this. Those
with social care packages are more likely
to attend, but we have worked hard to
determine the reasons why some remain
absent. In order to support people to
attend, we have created a transport
budget. While this does support some
individuals, it is the people that are not
receiving services, or who have only
recently been referred to us, that are
the trickiest to find and support.
We receive a substantial number of
referrals for people who are currently not
receiving any support and it is our duty
to ensure they are able to attend, and
benefit from, the services we are able to
provide. As we grow, and begin to offer
our services to a wider group of people,
ensuring we can support individuals to
attend will become more difficult. We
regularly send out reminders, but in
order to adapt to this growing network
of attendees, we are developing new
methods to ensure regular attendance.
As we grow, we are also targeting
new ways to collate and present the
qualitative data that demonstrates our
benefit. Although we are currently
supported by National Lottery funding,
this is time limited. Therefore, we will
begin to approach CCGs to discuss long-
term plans for this service. Collecting
this data is essential to demonstrate the
benefits of the work we do and secure
the funding to support it into the future.
There are many areas of life that can
have an impact on our overall sense of
wellbeing. By providing the range of
services that are included in A Better
Life, we believe that we will be able to
support people to make meaningful
changes in their own lives and
positively impact the lives of others.
Early
intervention
work will
enable people
with a learning
disability and
associated
conditions to
be more in
control of their
lives and to
build up crucial
networks of
emotional
support
Using nature to develop
friendships and mental
wellbeing

www.nspf.co.uk

This article was sponsored by North Somerset People First. 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