Living with inequality and challenges to self management

Written by: , COPE Scotland

Published: 11/10/2019

Oval logo saying Self Management Week

Inequality when manging long term condition

We thank the ALLIANCE for inviting us to write an opinion piece for their website to share during Self Management and Challenge Poverty week. The issues of inequality and the additional challenges this can bring for people who are also managing a long term condition is something we have been aware of for some time and with partners explored what small steps we can take to help, while also raising awareness at a more strategic level. Activities we have been involved in include:

·       Helping the Glasgow Homelessness network (GHN) conduct flash poverty surveys and feeding those results into our own strategic plans and partners, ensuring the voices of lived experience are heard in helping plan changes for the future

·       Developing a range of tools and advice sheets with partners and the voices of lived experience including a guide to what to do if sanctioned and how to avoid being sanctioned

·       We worked with the local foodbank to explore ideas for fresh produce, support for picnics over the summer, how donations to the foodbank could reflect the needs of people accessing the foodbank who may have additional health challenges

·       We introduced dignity baskets to help challenge period poverty and developed this further to include dignity baskets to help mitigate the impact of winter for people who maybe struggling financially

·       We encouraged partners to adopt and adapt dignity baskets in their locations

·       We worked with local people with lived experience to co design tips for keeping warm in winter

·       We organised community events where people could meet other groups and agencies who may be able to help mitigate the impact of some of the challenges people were facing

·       We involved many people in making pompom draught excluders shared with many local people as a fun way to keep warm and do something together

·       We designed a workshop and video on the ‘Coorie’ taking into consideration various needs people may have to try and make it something everyone related to, that may help support their wellbeing.

The list can go on, not only of work we have done but that many others have too.  If you have a few minutes maybe watch this video which COPE Scotland made, co-produced with the voices of lived experience. Time has passed, as can be seen we have had new prime ministers and leaders of the opposition since then. When you are watching think, what has changed and what else do we still need to work on?

Listening to people about what they think may help mitigate the impact of poverty and managing a long-term conditions includes:

·       Being part of something, having someone to talk to

·       Having enough money to live and buy essential items like food, heat, clothing, furnishings

·       Being able to afford travel costs, to have a social life

·       Not feeling discriminated against or treated differently

·       Having suitable housing adapted where needed to meet individual needs

·       Feeling secure where people live to get out and about

·       Services available when needed and not long waiting lists only to be told you don’t meet the criteria

The video we shared (this link will take you away from our website) was made some time ago, we think its still relevant as it lets us look at then, and what is happening now. Things are beginning to change though and there is also hope, as many local people and groups feel more confident and supported to find their own solutions and policies and developments are made which support this:

·       The new social security powers which have come to Scotland and the new body Social Security Scotland who plan to put dignity, fairness and respect into the heart of everything they do

·       The recognition for working together to tackle loneliness and a National Strategy to have a Connected Scotland involving all partners and stakeholders in finding solutions to what is recognised as a public health priority

·       There is a growing movement of peer led and informal groups offering a variety of opportunities for people to connect and feel less isolated and have more fun arising form the work of many individuals, communities and organisations, including The ALLIANCE, The Scottish recovery network and others

·       There is a growing movement around recycle, reuse and repair, where people are sharing items, setting up clothing and other item banks for people to share items, even places where people can acquire skills to refurbish items including ‘Repair café’s’ ‘The Edinburgh Remakery’ and more

·       There is a movement of local people who are taking to the streets to do litter picks and while helping their neighbourhood also have a chance to get fitter, be active, have a chat, be part of something and programmes to support that include Glasgow City Council Neighbourhood Improvement, volunteer programme

·       More social enterprise is being established where people who are managing health challenges are setting up their own sole trader businesses so they can work the hours and times fits in with their needs, or new social enterprises are emerging offering new opportunities e.g. Glasgow Social Enterprise Network ‘A Social Enterprise Strategy for Glasgow 2018 to 2028

·       Work being done by See Me and many others to challenge discrimination as well as local conversations around being kinder to each other and good neighbourhoods

·       More people coming forward to share their experiences, to challenge stereotypes and create conditions where people begin to think differently about who people are and what they are capable of

·       Changing the rhetoric about how ‘deprived’ an area is, to how resilient and friendly an area is. People who are up against it know it, they don’t need reminded by articles or documentaries. We all need respected and feeling we have value, so more emphasis on the assets in an area as opposed to deficits

We do still have a way to go, there are still people who feel isolated, don’t have enough to eat, feel afraid to leave their home, but maybe its time we started to look at what is working and build on that, sometimes in looking at how far we still need to go, we forget to look at how far we have actually already come. Our feet take us to the vision we have in our heads, lets all share a vision of a fairer society where everyone feels included, has enough to eat, a sense of belonging and purpose, access to support if needed and knows they matter. If we include kindness and compassion in every decision, we make from National Policy to our relationship with each other then maybe many of the problems currently facing people, will begin to disappear

Our member

Our Member

COPE Scotland

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