Healthwatch Essex put the voices of people with disabilities at the heart of Council planning

Healthwatch Essex helps people share their health and social care stories. By supporting Purple Tuesday, we aim to put the voices of people with disabilities at the centre of positive change in local services.

In the next 3 years, we are working with Essex County Council to deliver a new model of service improvement, representing adults with disabilities by using lived experience more effectively. Over the past couple of months, we have recruited 15 individuals who all have experience of a disability and are passionate about wanting to improve the quality of local services for people living with or experience a disability.

The group, alongside Essex County Council Staff, form the ‘Collaboration in Action Forum’; a fantastic opportunity for voices to be heard at a senior level within the council as part of discussions regarding the Council’s long-term agendas and the planning of co-production activities. The participating council staff can further understand the needs of people living with disability and adapt their work in local services accordingly.

Our forum member’s disabilities range from, learning disabilities, a brain injury, registered blind, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, autism and amputee. A couple of our volunteers share why they have got involved in the project;

Samantha, registered blind said: “I wish to increase the knowledge within sighted people around sensory impairment.”

Guy, diagnosed with Autism, said: “I want people in my position to have a voice”.

If you would like more details about this project, please contact Healthwatch Essex Volunteer and Engagement Officer, Dan Potts on 01376 572 829 or email [email protected]