Ambassador’s skill share: working with the Scottish Government

Ambassador’s skill share: working with the Scottish Government

To explore the wider impact of get2gether on the lives of adults with disabilities, we are collaborating with the Scottish Government Learning Disability policy team on the new bill to showcase the expertise and knowledge that get2gether has acquired through our work. By sharing insights and their lived experiences, get2gether Ambassadors contribute to the development of the new policy that will hopefully address the specific challenges faced by individuals with learning disabilities in areas such as employment, relationships, and self-determination. These meetings are open to all members.

Natalie said: “The Scottish Government are putting together a new bill – Neurodiversity, Autism & LD- and they would like to hear from people who will be directly affected by the bill about what they would like included in it. They are looking to hear about people’s experiences of when and why the system currently doesn’t work and how this new bill could change that. 

It’s GREAT that we’re involved in such an early stage, as sometimes we’re included as an afterthought. This is something that will affect people directly, our everyday lives so we need as many voices as possible to contribute. It’s a chance to have more  freedom and choice. 

We prepare for working with Amanda by discussing and choosing a potential topic. Topics we’ve covered so far include Employment, Adult Intimate Relationships and Choice & access. We prepare a list of questions that Amanda is interested in hearing more about and then as a group we break them down and share personal examples and experiences. This then becomes a script for each question that leads us through the session. We then over 3-4 zoom practice the script and can make any changes.

Emma: It’s important that the topics discussed are ones that we feel get2gether members would relate to and perhaps open up a bit about their lives and share it with Amanda.

One of the first topics I discussed as a fairly new ambassador was Employment. I got to discuss getting a new job after failed upon failed attempt. I’ve enjoyed working with Amanda from the start of my job and reminding her from my first topic about employment that she has seen me grow – hopefully – since November last year. I like to remind her of that and that the get2gether work model works for someone like me

We had John discuss his experiences at work and we talked about discrimination, accessibility and accommodation. We’ve also recently done topics in self determination. We talked about the Live your Life course and what get2gether does to educate members with other courses and sessions such as the Let’s Talk About Sex course. 

Going back to self determination, we also told personal stories of pushing and breaking barriers and learning to navigate new experiences as adults with learning and/or other disabilities. How to communicate, make decisions and the right to choose. We talked about relationships, misconceptions, mental health, being seen as a full person.  

I emphasized that the bill needed to know that we are not one dimension folk – we’re third, fifth and many more parts with a right to be seen and heard.

Ambassador Emma

Stephan said “This is an important, empowering process because it gives people with lived experience a chance to participate that is going to affect their lives. It makes so much more sense to hear from lived experiences, rather than people round a table ‘representing people’ – who knows better than us! That’s why Monday Magic and Steering Group are so important – we always want to hear everyone’s view, we want to hear from you!

It demonstrates a different style of leadership, the fact that 1) you have to work as a team, you have to plan and navigate together and 2) it shows that when we’re in meetings we can hold our own with big organisations and our work isn’t going unnoticed. That’s the quality of the leadership we posses in get2gether, not just Ambassadors just members – look at Laurence and his barge trip to get that organised and pulled together – Laurence’s idea and process! Or Mairi being a peer mentor, going on the Inspiring Scotland Leadership Course, John coming down from Nairn and leading laughter yoga at the Botanics!

Now we need to think on topics for the future and that’s where we need your help. You are the members, you are the ones who will most be affected by this bill – what do you want the Scottish government to know about you? What does this bill mean to you?

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