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Joe’s Soapbox: December 2023

author icon author icon 29/11/2023 author icon Joe's Soapbox

On the 16th of November I attended the first ever North Wales Flyers conference.

The North Wales Flyers is a collaboration between Conwy Connect, NWAAA and All Wales People First.

The Flyers work with commissioners and decision makers to reduce the barriers to inclusion for people with learning disabilities in North Wales.

It is an excellent example of working in co-production.

The conference was called ‘Breaking Barriers Making Change’

I gave an opening speech.

I spoke to members about self-advocacy and how important the work of self-advocacy is.

How positive it was that members had an open and positive relationship with decision makers in the region.

Many of them were at the event.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the All Wales Strategy of 1983.

The All Wales Strategy identified that people with learning disabilities should not live in hospitals.

And should have normal patterns of life in the local community.

It wasn’t just revolutionary here in Wales, it led the way across Europe.

I challenged the Flyers to use the inspiration of the All Wales Strategy to take a lead in Wales.

To set a positive example of genuine co-production that could be used as an exemplar to the other regions in Wales.

To show the important role self-advocates can play in finding the solutions to the barriers that exclude us from society.

The members discussed the barriers to inclusion at their tables.

And they took notes.

The Flyers will look to see how they can share these notes with decision makers and other influential makers in Wales.

I enjoyed the excellent ‘Declaration of Independence’ film led by Nick Bettis.

We shared this on the All Wales People First Facebook page a few weeks ago.

I would like to commend the North Wales Flyers for their hard work to date.

And thank them for their warm hospitality.

Victory for Self-Advocacy.

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