Camphill’s Approach to Social Isolation and LonelinessType: News
Topic: Disability rights | Intentional communities | Learning disability | Policy and legislation
Published on: 13th September 2018
Our Director, Neil Henery and our Policy and Engagement Manager, Robert McGeachy, attended the cross party group on learning disability on Tuesday 11th September at the Scottish Parliament. We were absolutely delighted that all five of our recommendations were taken up by the group. You can read our presentation below.
We are very grateful for the opportunity to explain to the Scottish Parliament’s cross party group on learning disability the Camphill approach to tackling social isolation and loneliness. Our approach is to create the conditions for people to lead fulfilling lives in community. For Camphill, sharing lives is not just a convenient way to deliver education and social care but is an end in itself. We see a fulfilling life as having three dimensions – a family life, meaningful work and a cultural/spiritual life. When you enter a Camphill community you will see that it is organised with these three dimensions in mind. There are households where people enjoy close family-like relationships thereby benefitting from depth and mutuality of relationships and the security and belonging this brings. There are places of work such as craft workshops, bakeries, cafes and more where people can find a sense of vocation and develop a valued skill thus enhancing their self-esteem and sense of purpose. Finally, you will find places where plays can be performed, music played and festivals celebrated.
What has this to do, however, with the big world of policy making that this group is concerned with? What has Camphill to say to the wider world? Well, firstly we hope that those who come into contact with our communities will see something that is inspiring to them and that they will look for ways to bring the values of community into their own personal and working lives. Secondly, we want to work with others to influence Scottish society in a way that reflects our values of inclusion, respect and the rights of people with a learning disability to a family life, meaningful work and a cultural/spiritual life. That is why we are here today.
The First Minister only days ago set out the Government’s intention to introduce a National Strategy on Social Isolation and Loneliness. We see this as a tremendous opportunity to influence wider society and have a number of recommendations to make about how we can influence this. We also have recommendations relating to care inspection and the National Performance Framework.
- The group should write to the relevant Minister to ensure that the National Strategy attends specifically to the needs of young people with a disability at the point of transition from childhood to adulthood. We have known for a long time that this is a critical period where people can be plunged into a period of loneliness and isolation that could be avoided with better planning.
- The group should write to the relevant Minister to ensure that the National Strategy ensures that the Community Planning Partnerships include third sector organisations and local people to develop specific initiatives for people with a learning disability.
- The group should write to the relevant Minister to ensure that the National Strategy includes specific measures aimed at ensuring that people with a learning disability have access to employment opportunities, cultural activities, leisure facilities and appropriate medical care.
- That the group should write to the Care Inspectorate asking them to include a focus on social isolation and loneliness in their care inspections.
- The group should write to Ministers requesting that Scotland Performs: the National Performance Framework is updated to include a measure related to social isolation and loneliness.