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Voices for Change — The way forward

"Voices for Change" refers to the consultation and research activity we carry out through Grampian Opportunities (GO).

Our aim is to talk to, and promote opportunities where, people can be involved and have their voices heard. We use our learning from the ideas, views and lived experience shared to help influence service provision and to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in our community.

Our first research activity in 2007 looked at what helps disabled people stay in employment. The research team included volunteers with personal experience of having to give up work due to disability or long-term health conditions. This led in turn to the development of our award-winning peer led mentoring service called "New Explorations".

"Voices for Change" was chosen as project title in 2009 by a small group of volunteers who visited groups which involved disabled people and carers. The purpose of these visits was to find out what people like about the group, what helps them live independently and if they would change anything, what would it be, and how they do it. The key message from these conversations was that people didn't want things done for them - they wanted support to do things for themselves. The group increased their confidence and skills while carrying out this work. They also identified the potential to further develop consultation and group advocacy activity in paid or voluntary roles.

This research enquiry approach guides our work and our research has looked at accessible meeting places, short break options, supported self-employment, the need for a handyperson scheme, and conversations about hopes for Health and Social Care integration changes.

Work supported by the Scottish Government's Autism Innovation and Development funding explored issues that affect Autistic people, including difficulties in finding employment. This led to our current work titled "Live Well with Autism"

Reports

Employment and Self-employment: Grampian Delivers Opportunities final report
Voices for Change: Voices for Change final report
Accessible meeting places: Meeting Places final report version 1
Handyperson scheme: Community Support for Independent Living final report
Health and Social Care Integration: Health and Social Care Integration final report