National Council Meeting

On the 5th and 6th of March Ffion and Christy attended the All Wales People First National Council residential meeting at the Clayton Hotel in Cardiff. On day one, Joe Powell, Director of All Wales People First spoke about the role of the National Council, which was followed by the group going over the minutes of the previous meeting.

We then broke up into small groups and had a discussion about what we like and don’t like about being National Council representatives. Some people said they like being a rep because they get to have a voice for their members, while others said the meetings can be too long and it’s hard for people with autism to process all the information.

After lunch we talked about National Actions (when reps bring up issues from their groups). Caerphilly People First’s national action was that some our members receive limited care hours, which means they have to choose which activities they attend, and then miss out on other activities.

We then played a team-building game called Human Bingo which involved asking people questions like: Have you got a pet? Do you like cocktails? Have you sung at karaoke?

We finished day one with an item called Sub-Groups, where Reps were able to decide which sub-group to join. The groups were: Members (how more people can be self-advocates), Campaigning (what campaigns Reps want to start or join), and Position Statements (what Reps want All Wales People First to say about big issues).

Day two began with Joe Powell giving his Chief Executive’s report, followed by proposals to make changes to the All Wales People First rules at their next AGM. Reps unanimously voted yes to this proposal.

Next we heard from Simone Aspis from the Free Our People Campaign. This is a UK-wide campaign to get people with learning disabilities and autism out of inappropriate hospital settings. Reps voted yes unanimously to join this project.

Our last speaker of the meeting was Dan Biddle, a social entrepreneur who has written a proposal for an All Wales People First business. Reps and board members talked about how All Wales People First can start a business, and Dan presented ideas for the All Wales People First trading arm. Reps agreed with the proposals and All Wales People First will take these ideas forward.

National Council Meeting

On the 27th and 28th January Ffion Poole and Christy Taylor attended the first All Wales People First National Council meeting of 2020, which was held in Flint, North Wales.

During the two days the group spoke about what they like and don’t like about National Council meetings and how they can be improved in the future. Other items up for discussion included bus passes (some members are still waiting for their new ones), if people are happy with the term learning disabilities, and whether All Wales should campaign to have the Welsh Assembly appoint a learning disability commissioner. 100% of members voted yes to this question. The group also discussed appointing a patron to All Wales People First. This is usually a famous person who is able to create media interest and encourage donations.

Also during the meeting, the Chair of All Wales People First, Joe Powell, gave a presentation on the ‘Five Giants’ strategy. Joe explained that this strategy aims to solve the problems with self-advocacy in Wales. The five giants refer to five big problems in self-advocacy, which are: IPA Contracts (which state that local authorities must fund advocacy), Funding Cuts, Mission Drift (moving away from core work), Competition (sometimes with other People First groups), and Lack of Funding.

The next meeting of the group will be held in South Wales in May 2020.

national council