Personal development comes in many different forms and we focus on helping our member to identify the goals that can change their lives.
The insight service lies at the heart of the work we do. It’s what sets us apart from many other disability organisations and it’s what creates a unique bond between our staff and our members. One of our guiding principles is to help service users aspire to actively change their lives in both big and small ways. We use our expertise, knowledge and understanding of the daily lives of disabled people, combined with living examples from our membership, to inspire others to see what can be achieved.
insight is ecdp’s team for developing and taking forward all voice-related activity. Its primary objective is to engage service users and members to ensure we are an organisation that:
- Taps into the expertise and experience of its members and service users to offer opportunities for individuals to maximise their own social capital within and across the community
- Listens and facilitates discussion with its members and service users
- Connects disabled people and stakeholders across the community to provide a powerful voice for change on disability issues
Since insight was launched three years ago we have:
- Established clear development pathways to enable disabled people to progress and achieve their individual goals: these goals have been met through a combination of peer mentoring, work experience and training opportunities
- Recruited over 100 disabled volunteers to provide peer support to service users. We have matched over 189 people with a peer volunteer
- Built good networks/partnerships with organisations from the public, private and civil society sectors to draw on the benefits of our insight offer. In the past few months we have seen service users secure permanent employment as a direct result of their experience with insight
- Secured a portfolio of projects/programmes which, at their heart, draw on the lived experience of members and service users.
- Established a culture internally where the importance of lived experience as the means of driving both policy and practice is understood and embraced as the organisation’s business model.
Our approach is totally practical. We have developed a range of partnerships and projects designed to support disabled people as they seek to make changes in their lives. We recognise that our role is not just to empower, encourage and support individuals, but to work with other organisations and individuals to provide opportunities for change.
People’s lived experience is a vital part of ecdp and the insight team’s work. We use a range of methods to gather and collate the lived experience that members of ecdp and the wider community share with us.
This understanding is then used to shape new services for people, challenge problems and respond to local and national policy initiatives.
We define lived experience as the experience all disabled people have in their everyday lives, both in managing an impairment but also in a social sense, being a citizen and sharing their understanding of the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
There are lots of different ways in which lived experience is captured and used within ecdp and we try to learn about it from day-to-day interaction. Our ‘lived experience log’ is available to all ecdp staff, enabling them to capture themes arising from conversations they have. The log documents the issues that are on the mind of disabled people, their PAs and professionals who work in the field.
Essex Unite is a unique work experience and training programme for disabled people in Essex.
The original concept for Essex Unite came from the insight team at ecdp. It was then developed into an innovative partnership with the private sector group MITIE. Essex Unite is funded by JobCentre Plus and this ground-breaking work experience programme is designed to offer unemployed disabled individuals the opportunity to participate in meaningful work placements.
The programme is built around an 8 week work placement scheme. This focuses on both providing bespoke training, delivered at the right pace for each individual, and on giving them the drive, experience and confidence needed to get into paid employment.
Click here to visit our blog and find out more about how Essex Unite is changing lives.
The ongoing success of Essex Unite will focus on us developing new partnership opportunities with organisations which share our ambitions to nurture talent and provide an equal chance for all. MITIE our current partner has identified the potential of this programme to bring new talent into their organisation and to do this in a way that recognises and respects the abilities and requirements of each individual.
Building on the well established principles of corporate social responsibility, we believe this innovative and creative training programme will not only enhance the private sector’s understanding of disability but ultimately lead to higher retention rates, greater productivity and better community relations.
If your organisation would like to take part in this programme, please contact the Essex Unite team now.
ecdp has a long and well established history of working to enhance the lives of disabled people in Essex. With the Essex Unite programme our goal is to develop a new model of co-operation between the voluntary sector and private companies to address social challenges at a local level.
Our work at ecdp makes a real difference to the lives of people in Essex and beyond. Volunteers play a key role in the delivery of this work and we welcome new volunteers at all levels.
- Part time
- Office work
- Skilled support
Whether you wish to volunteer to support people on a daily basis, or perhaps you’d like to help now and then by working in our offices, then we would like to hear from you.
ecdp is run by a dedicated and professional team. But we are not experts at everything! If you have a specialist skill – from marketing to photography, finance to IT – and can spare a few hours to support us, please contact our CEO Mike Adams.
Our CEO, Mike Adams, was recently interviewed by BBC Essex to discuss the challenges and initiatives to support disabled people to get into, and stay in, work.
ecdp CEO Mike Adams recently (Thursday 11 April 2013) took part in the national launch event for Healthwatch - the new consumer champion for health and social care.
Essex County Council has published the final 3-year longitudinal study evaluating the impact and effectiveness of Personal Budgets in Essex.