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Day one – News digest of the ALLIANCE Annual Conference

Section: The ALLIANCEType: News Item Date Published: 7th September 2020

Here's what happened on day one of the ALLIANCE's first online and week-long conference.

Day one – Monday 7 September 2020 – of our first-ever online and week-long annual conference saw over 1,000 event attendees join six events throughout the day.

We began with Reimagining the future of health and care – a welcome from the ALLIANCE’s Chief Executive and Chair

The ALLIANCE Chair, Ruth Dorman, and Chief Executive, Ian Welsh welcomed everyone and introduced this year’s theme – ‘Reimagining the future of health and care’ – with an insight into what attendees can expect from the ALLIANCE’s first-ever online annual conference.  Watch this opening video (this link will take you away from our website)

Today’s events 

A vision for the future – in conversation with Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

Chaired by Pennie Taylor, this event covered questions submitted by ALLIANCE members surrounding COVID-19 and remobilising services disrupted as a result of COVID-19. The Cabinet Secretary, Jeane Freeman MSP,  said “A common purpose is key to us emerging from this COVID-19 pandemic stronger. ‘

Living through a pandemic – what have we learned?

Next up was four inspiring speakers; Ron Culley Chief Executive of Quarriers, Pat Graham mother of Lauren who is 31 and has a profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD), Kiana Kalantar-Hormozi filmmaker and activist, and Adam Lang Head of Nesta Scotland. This event shared experiences of some of the difficulties faced during the pandemic including shielding, and the cuts to social care packages and suspension of visiting. The speakers looked at third sector services that experienced early problems with PPE and equipment, as well as funding, and how we must reflect on these experiences and ensure that in the future people are at the centre of decision making. The event encouraged continuation to improving the trust between people and the public sector, better and more joined up data, and a cultural and systemic shift towards human rights.

“It’s not just up to our voices, but to all of society to be our allies and amplify our voices” – Kiana Kalantar-Hormozi.

Words for wellbeing – a fiction writer’s workshop

Gillian Shirreffs, a published writer who began writing in 2007 to try to make sense of the odd world of illness into which she had been thrust and explained how she began fiction writing after being diagnosed with MS. Gillian explored ways that writing can be used as a powerful distraction to help manage wellbeing, and supported event delegates to practice skills and techniques involved in writing fiction and have fun while developing their characters and stories.

Economic recovery and the impact on health inequalities – an international perspective

The ALLIANCE’s Irene Oldfather, was then joined by a panel of guest speakers to look beyond Scottish shores and consider how different international responses to the COVID-19 pandemic could inform Scotland’s approach. Speakers gave their assessment of what a sustainable economic recovery could look like, and the all-important interventions that will be needed to make sure that no one is left behind in our response to this public health emergency.

“Scotland will be an outward-facing county and will continue learning from European friends”. – Fiona Hyslop MSP

Humans of Scotland and the power of storytelling

Wrapping up day one, we heard from people with lived experience tell their powerful stories, this session heard from six Humans of Scotland contributors who spoke about the personal benefit of sharing their stories and how they have inspired others.  One speaker said that by sharing her story she was able to open up a dialogue about mental health with her family.

This engaging event shared experiences of COVID-19 and the impact it has had and also the challenges faced by carers and the impact lockdown has had on physical activity and social interactions.

The tweet of the day

“Thanks to @ALLIANCEScot for great first day #ALLIANCEConf20 Fantastic speakers, thought provoking Q’s & great online format. Though I might miss the coffee breaks & random conference chats – but more than made up by being able to listen to sessions in your own time, in slippers!” – @HelenMalo3

Follow the conference conversation on Twitter using #ALLIANCEConf20 (this link will take you away from our website).

Feedback from day one

“As a non writer, I am taking away the learning that writing can be an incredible way to connect with yourself and your imagination and also promote wellbeing. It was a surreal experience being able to create characters and start a story with a group of strangers in a digital setting”.

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