Opinions

Getting to know the Network

Written by: Rhona Millar, Network Development Officer, the ALLIANCE

Published: 19/12/2017

Rhona introduces her new role as Network Development Officer and shares her hopes for the Self Management Network Scotland in 2018.

In April 2017 at the Self Management Network Scotland  event in central Glasgow, I sat with 100 delegates and listened to people share their stories around self management. There was a distinct energy and enthusiasm in the room and  I remember thinking ‘I want to be involved in this somehow’ so it is one of those isn’t-life-funny-sometimes-moments that fast forward eight months and I am writing this blog to introduce myself as the Network Development Officer for the Self Management programme.

When I was first introduced to self management it was something of an ‘Ah-ha!’ moment. To me the beauty of self management is that it’s a simple concept. It’s not an abstract policy or some high level jargon. It’s really about people. People who feel empowered to be in the driving seat of their condition. People who remain at the forefront as people, and not their condition. And it is people who are working in partnership to support one another on that journey. Working within the Events and Communications team at the ALLIANCE, (you may recognise me from lurking at the back at ALLIANCE events, usually fiddling with a microphone or frantically updating the ALLIANCE twitter!) I had the opportunity to hear directly from individuals at various points on their self management journey and I was repeatedly struck by how powerful this simple concept is. We are coming up to ten years since the launch of the co-produced self management strategy ‘Gaun Yersel’ that is still widely utilised and relevant. To me, this is an exciting reminder that self management as a concept is working, that it is growing and resonating for people. So what next?

My role as Network Development Officer is to support and develop the Self Management Network Scotland, but the shape and direction this will take will largely be determined by the network itself. It is such an achievement that the Self Management Scotland Network grew to over 500 members this year, and it’s a testament to the growing movement towards self management based approaches. By sharing learning around self management and continuing to embed approaches into health and social care settings, we recognise that the network is a key driver to help influence positive change. I hope that in 2018 we can continue to ensure the network will thrive as an inclusive, engaged and dynamic body.

Over the coming weeks and months I am planning to build on my knowledge and learning around self management. We know it features high on the health and social care agenda, but what does this look like on the ground? I want to find out what activity is happening; what different approaches are out there; who are we engaging with, who needs to join the conversation and what role our network can play in this.

I will be taking some time in the new year to get to know our network members. If you are a member of the Self Management Network Scotland it would be great to hear from you; whether that’s to let me know your thoughts on the network and what you would like to see from it, or even just to say hello and have a chat! Please do get in touch at rhona.millar@alliance-scotland.org.uk or call 0141 404 0231 for an email chat, telephone call or even to meet for a coffee.

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