Building capacity for person-centred support

Last week we ran a two-day training course for people wanting to understand how person-centred planning, personal budgets and connecting people all fit together. The course has been funded by the Cornwall Learning Disability Partnership Board to build capacity for support planning in the east of the county where our service, Get A Plan, has found it harder to reach people.

The course attracted a wide range of attendees including front line staff (employed by providers), personal assistants (employed by people with personal budgets), family members and front line social work staff working for the local authority.

We invited families and people along to each day to share their stories of circles of support, person-centred planning, personal budgets and support planning. Without hesitation I can say that hearing first hand from people about their lives is the most powerful training tool. Rory, Zoe, Meghann and Vanessa’s honesty and humor as they told their stories was an inspiration to us all.

We also used the old person-centered approach favorite, the ‘last nerve’ exercise once called ‘driving you crazy’. It’s an oldie but a goodie: asking people to put themselves in the situations of people living in residential homes. It’s easy for people to dismiss exercises like that and say that people don’t live in these kinds of places anymore. So just in case, we ended that exercise with a clip of the Panorama documentary on Winterbourne View.  While it’s important that we don’t forget where we’ve come from, the focus of the day was on ACTION.

We came away from the two days with a long list of burning issues and with such positive feedback giving us the enthusiasm to organize more events across the county. The greatest feedback possibly came from those working as personal assistants, who said it was the first course that seemed relevant to their role and that they couldn’t underestimate how good it had been to connect with other personal assistants. Their burning issue was to find a way to keep them connected and to facilitate a network of personal assistants supporting people across Cornwall. I was really interested in this idea as it draws on our past experiences, supporting the person-centered planning facilitators’ network across the county. My challenge for next week is to look into where we might be able to find some funding to facilitate such a network in the future.

To find out more about the project visit our project page.