GIRFEC GAPS

Originally posted on Inspired by Autism:

GIRFEC Gaps
GIRFEC for those of you who do not know stands for Getting It Right For Every Child and is a framework for a multiagency approach to meeting the needs of our children here in Scotland.

In theory and principle it is hard to disagree with much of it I feel, but our personal experience has left me with serious doubts about it.

At one level it really is a horrible example of ‘care speak’- the kind of language that creates barriers between ‘professionals’ and families affected. Take a look inside and you will find more. My son has recently been through the SHANARRI wheel – that’s Safe Healthy Achieving Nurtured Active Respected Responsible and Included- and the My World Triangle which is made up of many more vague and (conveniently ?) difficult to quantify concepts – learning to be responsible, guidance supporting me to make the right choice…

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Me Time ?

Originally posted on Inspired by Autism:

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After a busy weekend Jen and I were looking forward to the start of the week.

Andy was going out with his carer to swim and our other two were back at school. The possibility of “me time” dissipated before our eyes however as we turned ourselves to paper work relating to various aspects of Andy’s care. This is another major role demanded of carers and it can be difficult on various levels. While Jen worked on checking schedules and details for adaptations to our home to ensure this project progresses I tackled the Blue Badge Renewal and the Direct Payments Audit.
The form for the Blue Badge stretched to the best part of 30 pages and what should have been a simple renewal started to get complicated. With Andy’s lifelong disability it should be recognised that the need for this resource is ongoing but because the form takes no…

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Behaving ourselves: Salmond, Soubry and words as weapons

Originally posted on A Thousand Flowers:

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A Guest Post by Sandra Webster

Now before I start, let me reiterate my dislike of all things Tory. I spent a mis-spent youth booing at them and not in a Father Ted “Down with this sort of thing” way either. Language can be a weapon in the right circumstances and a tool of oppression. That is why I try to be careful when I speak these days, though I am aware we all make mistakes.

Yesterday, Alex Salmond used language against Anna Soubry that I find offensive and demeaning. He called her “demented” then told her to display an example to newer members of the house and uttered “behave yourself woman.” Alex Salmond has been a member of both the Scottish Parliament and Westminster for a long time. He is praised for his eloquence, I think that is why I found the use of his terminology so saddening.

We…

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On Any Street, You’ve got to practice what you preach.

Through being an unpaid carer I have met some of the most amazing beautiful, people in the world. That has been a joy when I see how they support their loved one including those with complex disabilities. One of the worst part of being a carer is seeing parents having to say goodbye all of whom have received the best care in the world. It does make me angry when I see how little support they receive even though they ask for so little. They rely on friends, family members, carers centre’s for a little extra support to cope with supporting someone they love who needs 24/7 care.

I don’t normally watch “Benefit Street” the latest in channel 4’s social anthropological journey into the lives of some of the most vulnerable. To be honest Richard Attenbourgh’s wildlife programmes seem to bring out more compassion in us. In last night’s programme I dare anyone not to be moved by the story of Julie and her son Reagan. Julie has looked after Reagan since he was nine months old and his needs were complex. Last night showed his last Christmas where the poorest of folk raised money for Reagan to have a reindeer sledge ride. His smiles were infectious. Sadly Reagan died a few weeks later after a hospital admission. Julie and the family and neighbours were devastated.

I couldn’t help but think of the families who are going through such grief at this time. I know many families still living with the dreadful pain of losing someone they love and their live being turned upside down. This is not only emotional but a complete change of circumstances. Benefits are cut, this might mean the loss of a car and even your home could be at risk. This seems to happen overnight. It is part of the system. Although many folk have given up their lifetime to care for a loved one the question that was asked on “Benefit Streets” last night has resonance. “Does looking after your child count as nothing?”

On Benefit Street despite the stereotype they practice what they preach to paraphrase Nick Cave. I have the feeling that the community will rally round Reagan’s mum Julie. I know that all the folk I know are appreciated by their communities for what they do and I am writing this in honour of all the folk I know who have lost a child. Every carer’s journey is different but our path’s frequently diverge. I just want to send love to all those I know who have lost a loved one in the past few years. I am not going to name you but hope you know I am thinking of you all.

The needs of past carers have to be recognised. Their grief should be our grief. When I hear of people being threatened with the bedroom tax or eviction it makes my blood boil. They should be appreciated for all the support and most of all love they gave their loved ones. Cutting benefits immediately just sends so many into poverty. We need a gentler way. A pension for carers. Most of all we need to show love and solidarity in the personal and political. To all my friends in this position much love and I am here for you any way I can be even if it is just to remember. xxx

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The Way Ahead a new movement for Scotland.

Originally posted on SandraSSP:

Like most of my comrades, I felt rejuvenated at being at the SSP conference. The motions were inspiring and well thought out. The good thing about our party is that debate is encouraged and National Councils and Conferences are a highlight for ordinary members who work so hard in their branches and truly share common values with me. I would like to remind ordinary members that they are also welcome as observers at our monthly ECs where those elected at conference have to make decisions with the consent and trust of the wider party. I am proud that we are open and inclusive and all of our structures are transparent.

At conference we voted to enter negotiations with the Scottish Left project, We heard passionate discussion on both sides where people laid themselves bare but were prepared to do that for the debate and to inform others. We heard from…

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The Way Ahead a new movement for Scotland.

The Way Ahead a new movement for Scotland..

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The Way Ahead a new movement for Scotland.

Like most of my comrades, I felt rejuvenated at being at the SSP conference. The motions were inspiring and well thought out. The good thing about our party is that debate is encouraged and National Councils and Conferences are a highlight for ordinary members who work so hard in their branches and truly share common values with me. I would like to remind ordinary members that they are also welcome as observers at our monthly ECs where those elected at conference have to make decisions with the consent and trust of the wider party. I am proud that we are open and inclusive and all of our structures are transparent.

At conference we voted to enter negotiations with the Scottish Left project, We heard passionate discussion on both sides where people laid themselves bare but were prepared to do that for the debate and to inform others. We heard from Myrto from Syrizia and Jonathon from the Scottish Left project. The words of Myrto  echo in my ears, “Another Scotland is necessary”. With the tory attacks coming our way it is. Let’s remember that austerity doesn’t only demonise poor people but those who work in the public sector. I am grateful it still exists but cuts are impacting on the most vulnerable and cuts are impacting on worker’s jobs. What will happen if the libraries and museums in Renfrewshire are coagulated into a private trust. What will happen to the users of services and the terms and conditions of those who work for us. From public health consultants to librarians  with their skills to those working to maintain council houses whose hours are being cut.

Great challenges ahead for those who have the support of the traditional weapon of Trade Unionism but what about those who do not have a voice or someone shouting out to represent them. I am talking about those without work, carers, people with disabilities who will experience the most devastating cuts in Osbourne’s July budget because they are deemed to be “benefit units” not real people just described in Dickensian linguistics. Ironic as Dickens used his language to share the experience and grind of day to day poverty which creates a holistic poverty and stigmatization. I wonder what Goffman would have written about in 2015? Though his analysis remains sound, people are stigmatised and alienated.

How will this affect the left who offer an alternative? Well we need to start talking to real people outside the box. To be a real anti-austerity movement which offers hope in Greece we have to make politics real. That is why I am not calling for a Scottish Syrizia but a movement all of our own based in the experiences of Scotland as Syrizia is based in the experience of the Greek people. To ensure this happens we need to talk to real people about their lives and what they want to change. We can be part of the anti-austerity movement of Europe we need to be and let’s make this happen most of all we need to engage in our communities, engage in real lives. That is the lesson to Syrizia for us all.

So after conference I spoke to some party members who are working class and experience the cuts. One of them spoke about the folk given chits to buy second hand sofas from the welfare fund which replaced community care grants which gave folk choice in choosing the things that are essential. Not long til tackety boots are purchased by the parish. These meant when you knelt down for communion everyone could see these were bought by the parish. Do we want to go back to these days? of course not but I fear we are sleepwalking in that direction. Let’s challenge the impact of austerity now by helping folk that is why we are part of the left.

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