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We used this image on our facebook page and on my twitter account with the kind permission of our dear friend Dave Lupton, one of the great cartoonists within our ever flourishing movement.

Dave let’s us do this gratis. Similarly we offer  free training to our volunteers for 4 Wednesdays; twice a year – typically may and October.

The courses include; Disability Equality, 12 Pillars of Independent Living and The History of the Disabled People’s Movement where we look at legislation, and the roles people played to make rights for disabled people a reality.

We have a ask of you.

Today we are using social media to ask you to help us recruit disabled people you think could become volunteers at MCIL. Consider the merits of volunteering for disabled people who may be talking to you about boredom, loneliness, social isolation and those who may never have worked before as well as those who you feel have talents that would benefit MCIL. Check with them that they would be interested in volunteering before nominating them to me. I will contact them for interview before offering 4 days of training on each Wednesday during October.

Share our posts and blogs widely. Use the social media tools at your disposal but most importantly get real and talk to people. Tell them about the potential. Let them know MCIL are recruiting for a variety of roles from advice, to advocacy,to admin reception work. Let them know we would appreciate their involvement and participation.

Ask them to contact me at MCIL by phone on 0203 397 3119 or by email on inclusion@mertoncil.org.uk

Many thanks for engaging with MCIL here.

15:55, 22 Sep 2016 by Charlet Wilson

communitychat

CEO, Lyla Adwan Kamara, came back from a breakfast meeting enthusing about something new to us which went by the name of community chatting. It sounded good so we arranged a chat through the parameters of our members group.

Dr Anjan Ghosh of Merton’s Public Health Team came to a group meeting supported by, new to public health, Aalaa Jawad. Pleasantly they came early during our networking time and accepted our offer of tea and biscuits, sitting with us whilst we allowed for attendance to increase through the concept of International Crip Time. What’s that asked the good doctor; “we’ll get there when we can”. In the interim they responded positively to our enquiries about Public Health.

Time came for Anjan to start the chat. His theme is the redevelopment of the Wilson Hospital. It’s a Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (MCCG) project. His intent was to find out what we as a community would like to see develop on the site. He looked a the history of the area, wondered about our personal history with the site and enthusiastically asked for our thoughts which he recorded on reams and reams of flip chart. You wanna know? We wanna tell ya.

Ultimately we designed a village hall. We said what the overall concept was – a place we could go to be, a place where we could meet, a place where we decided the content, a place for learning about and from each other, a place that was free of sanction (we wouldn’t like to see the job centre housed there) and a place where we could use and benefit from technology. In building the Hall we decided how we would like to get there,level paving, free parking (around the site not necessarily on it), sensory gardens with benches where maybe we could grow an orchard of memorial for all the significant disabled people we have known.

Our key to the inside and outside of the hall was inclusion, not integration. We should not be separated by mobility or access signs, toilets should not be built for us but for everyone. It had to be a place where we could be seen as active participants not just service users.

All of which sounds pretty much fantastic but, of course, as disabled people we all know; the problem with consultation is local authority comes, has a chat with us, decides its only going to do what it was ever going to do in the first place and totally ignores a single word we said. That’s our history for you. We recognise it as a self fulfilling truth and we express our cynicism widely. But not this time. Anjan calls for an action plan.

He and Aalaa will take the flip chart, turn it into a picture, send it to us, we will review it and decide who goes to the MCCG and present our ideas in competition with the ideas of other groups and what is more he will come back to us and keep us informed of where we are. We will present at a future MCCG Breakfast meeting. But what about International Crip Time. Breakfast is so not us. We have PA’s to wait for, travel’s still not so great, etc etc. Solutions for participation need to be found. We will find them.

15:54, 10 Aug 2016 by Charlet Wilson

Pressure? What pressure?

Pressure? What pressure?

Guest Blogger Estifanos Habtesellasie is engaged and involved as a Volunteer at MCIL. Here he talks about some of the opportunities that have fallen his way.

“How does MCIL engage me?

I came to become involved in MCIL in late 2014 when I was looking to participate in volunteering work through Merton Volunteering Service Council. I didn’t know anything about the organisation or what use I could be to them. I was given an interview to check whether I’d be up to scratch. It seemed all very formal for a voluntary position, but then again I had very little experience of volunteering. It was decided that I’d do some admin work and take it from there. I was also given the chance to be a member and attend members meetings. In attending members meetings I got to see disabled people who were very different from me. Most of them live independently and had completely different life experiences. I had trouble relating to them initially, but through spending more time at MCIL and going through disability equality training I felt more at ease. I got to learn there is no one way of living, just one that suits you and allows you to have choice. I’ve come to understand the issues that affect us such as spending cuts. Although I tend to be more of a listener than contributor I feel comfortable participating at meetings. Having said that I was on one occasion a facilitator at one of the members groups, regarding the European Network on Independent Living .

With regards to the advocacy and advise work that MCIL does, I had no idea how important this service was to people. The advocates and advisers seem to do a very good job, but it’s a job I’d never do, far too stressful !

How does MCIL include me?

MCIL includes me not only by allowing me to volunteer but also giving me other opportunities. For example just recently I have been visiting residential homes with disabled residents on MCIL’s behalf. I’ve enjoyed writing reports and doing something for MCIL, in partnership with Merton Seniors Forum. There was also a time when I acted as representative for MCIL at a Merton Learning Disabilities Conference. This shows how inclusive MCIL have tried to been with me, somebody who only came here initially to some admin work”.

Estifanos is a volunteer who welcomes opportunities for engagement who uses his enthusiasm for learning by tasting and trying different activities. He has not given a full list of the work he has contributed here.

15:53, 14 Jun 2016 by Charlet Wilson

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