At In Control we have a national advice line and have done surveys using our Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool (POET) - both tell us that too often people are struggling to make policy on choice and control a reality in their lives. Lots of people and organisations at local level contact us and we try to use our experience and position to help, but sometimes we are limited by our capacity. We also believe that "together we are better".
That's why we wanted to set up this network, to connect people and groups across the country for mutual help and to share our own knowledge and experience as widely as possible.
What will the network do?
The basic idea works at two levels:
At local level: helping local groups and people who are helping others to get more control over their lives and support. Helping them to come together to help each other - with skills, time, ideas, connections. These local groups have access to the national network for advice and support and are linked to other local groups for mutual support.
At national level: the network will provide facilities for advice and sharing issues and solutions, run a programme of webinars, develop and share practical resources. In some cases, direct help with particularly complex local situations will be offered. The national network will also take experience and issues from local groups and work to influence national policy and decision-making.
What will In Control do?
In Control, with partners, will set up the national network of support and run it to support local groups. Where requested, we will offer support in setting up local arrangements. We can offer advice on this to any group and in the first instance (this year) we can offer to do this more directly via local planning sessions with about ten local groups. Where possible, we will link and connect local groups to useful national expertise and capacity, and in some cases, direct advice from ourselves. There will be no charge for this to local groups - we'll fund raise to do as much as we can and work with other national groups.
At a local level, of course, situations will differ. You might already have a local network that can be built on or you may need to bring more people together and put arrangements in place to co-ordinate more joint action and support. You will need to set up arrangements to link to the national support and benefit from sharing with other localities.
If you are interested or want more information, please contact us.