Did you know that only 6% of people with a learning disability are in employment? Many of our community members tell us they’d love to have a job, but finding the right training and getting suitable work experience can be a stumbling block. So we’re delighted that nine people who live in or are supported by our communities have joined our Co-production team as paid members of staff as our Life of Opportunity Reviewers.
Nicki, Emily, Michelle, Steph, Lee, Ed, Simon, Tom and Jim are playing an important part in making sure that everyone who lives in a Camphill Village Trust community can make their own choices about how they live their lives.
Our new team of reviewers began training last November, and have now carried out 14 reviews for the Trust, visiting communities other than their own to assess how well the people living there are able to lead a life of opportunity.
‘It’s great to have our new reviewers as part of our Co-Production team,’ says National Co-Production Manager Phil. ‘They’re bringing so much enthusiasm, visiting each other’s communities using their skills, insight and experience to help the Trust support every single person to have a life packed with opportunity.’
The personal experience and understanding our reviewers bring enable them to open up conversations on a more equal footing than other members of staff. Their reviews have already produced some exciting new recommendations – such as developing stronger links with our local neighbourhoods, more resources and workshops to help people understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants and creating more homes for couples and partners.
Nicki explains why her personal experience makes it easy to for people to express their views to her:
‘We have a checklist of things we’re looking for during the reviews,’ she says. ‘And because I’m living the same life, it’s easier for me to ask people how they feel. You don’t want people just ticking boxes, treating you just as someone who ‘needs care’. You want to be treated as an equal.’