I was invited, along with Partners in Policymaking graduates, to attend a reception at the Scottish Parliament on 25th April 2017. The room was full of invited ministers and members of the Scottish parliament, and the event was sponsored by Fulton MacGregor MSP.
I began the presentation with a brief history of how Partners in Policymaking came about, how it has developed over 21 years and Scotland's part in this. I was followed by Jaynie Mitchell, the Scottish coordinator, and then we heard from four graduates who shared very powerful stories of how their lives, and their children's lives, have changed following Partners.
Fulton MacGregor spoke again at the end of the presentation, saying how he hadn't intended to say anything more, but was so moved by what he'd heard that he felt compelled to respond. He told us that he used to be a social worker and hearing from the graduates made him feel that at times he had been part of the problem, not the solution. He vowed to champion Partners and would try to get continued funding.
The next day, Nicola Sturgeon got in touch with Jaynie and said that the feedback was so wonderful that she wanted to find out more.
Update on current Partners in Policymaking courses
The current courses, taking place in Newcastle and London, are going well, with two very different groups of people.
So far, the participants have heard about the history and perception of disabled people, along with the history of the parents movement, helping us to understand why things are the way they are. Again it struck me how we still hear the same conversations over and over, not changing much over many years.
We had a new presenter, Andy Walker, who was brilliant and really inspired both groups, helping them to realise the importance of planning ahead. Julia Erskine and I gave an overview of person-centred planning and support plans, and we did some live planning using PATH and solution circles.
One of the difficulties in London was fitting everything in the programme into such short days (10am-3:30pm), leaving many with questions. It would be great if we could get funding to run a person-centred workshop with those participants in London who wish to learn more.