We are a mixed up group of people in the best way!
Some of us have had to use a lot of support, others less or have worked in various professional roles.
Let us introduce ourselves!
What we do
We provide independent support to bring awareness about how to use self-directed support (SDS) in innovative and creative ways.
We do this by facilitating or teaching at events, forums and training events. We bring together communities of citizens and professionals to learn together and solve problems using self-directed support.
Forum Theatre and Open Forums
Forum Theatre and Open Forums are ways of exploring the different forces that are creating the world we are living in. Only when we have awareness can we change it. If we want to reshape that world and live and act differently in it, then we need to know where we are and the space we have to move in and from there we can work out what to do about it.
Everyone Together events
These are often two day events that are for everyone in one local area or they can be for a group with similar interests. Everyone learns together; from and with each other about how to use self-directed support (SDS). We discover together more about the resources in that community and neighbourhood and how to make the community stronger, make networkers more sustainable and get the support we all need. We encourage diversity and contributions from all. The events are facilitated and taught by our teams who have a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds.
Workshops and Trainings
Workshops and trainings are designed by us with you, to focus on particular areas or issues. In the last few years we have designed and run workshops for health professionals working in the community, workshops support recovery from substance use and addictions work, workshops for family and children workers, for groups of identity, like Punjabi or Cantonese speaking people and with Scottish gipsy/travellers. We have run events in Dundee, Haddington, Musselburgh, Moray, Edinburgh, Perth, Oban, Kilmarnock, Auchinleck, Dalkeith, Irvine and Falkirk
Pat Black is co-founder of Diversity Matters. She works across the UK offering consultancy, family and one to one work. A particular interest is in working with issues of justice, trauma and people who have experienced long term institutionalisation or who have multiple labels from the social work or health system. Pat helped set up some of the first Direct Payments schemes in the UK over 20 years ago, and has helped give birth to a number of successful organisations that support a more inclusive Scotland. Pat also coordinated the work of The Research Society for Process Oriented Psychology in the UK for seven years, where she is also a Faculty Member. She is passionate about her city, friendships and family and long distant cycling.
With his partner Pat Black, Andy founded Diversity Matters, an organisation works for a more inclusive society particularly in education, social care and health systems.
He loves designing training and learning experiences that have a real world impact and has been instrumental in the design and delivery of the HEC in the Person-centred Approach at Queen Margaret University which has won a string of awards, particularly for changing workplace practice and in life-long learning. Andy is passionate about facilitative-leadership and community change. He provides individual coaching support for leaders and facilitators. In recent years he facilitated the In Control Scotland national leadership programme which brought together leaders from local authorities, social care organisations and people and families to learn about self directed support
Elaine was born with cerebral palsy and attended special and more mainstream schools. After college she moved to Edinburgh because she was attracted to an organisation that provided support there and which had an aim to be tenant led. She has been highly involved in contributing to the organisation over the years. When some of the staff that supported her enrolled on a University Course in the Person Centred Approach she thought she should try it too and graduated from Queen Margaret University in 2010. She gained first hand experience as someone who requires support and what it is like to learn alongside and contribute to the training of support workers and personal assistants. Elaine is an artist and has exhibited her work at a number of exhibitions. She is also an athlete and has a running-bike which she races in the UK and overseas.
Ray has a background as a disabled man, spirited volunteer, activist, good neighbour and trainer. He is also an expert on aids and adaptions and has a passionate interest in the human (rather than technical solutions) to human problems. Ray is passionate about involvement and how people who rely (to whatever degree) on the Social Care of Health Systems can become more in control of the support they get. Raymond was a central member of the Five Dimension’s Evaluation Team which has evaluated and commented on the quality of some of the leading social care organisations in the UK.
Alexander Warren is an actor, a teacher and a Hearts fan (please don’t hold that against him!) He feels strongly about encouraging people to follow their dreams no matter how big or small.
After hearing about dreams when in special education he decided he wanted to spread the word about person centred planning, gifts and dreams to other young people.
After an internship at Edinburgh Development Group in 2009, he set up his own business, AJP Dreams! To inspire young people to go for their dreams and to encourage families and professionals to work hard to listen to these dreams and help people to follow them.
He coined the phrase Flamboyant Dreaming to challenge families and professionals in particular to imagine bigger and not make do with what seems realistic.
Vicki Cunningham is a mum, community networker and community broker. Community brokers, work alongside people who might be able to direct their support to help them be more creative, think outside the box and develop aspirational plans that enrich everyone’s networks and ‘real wealth’.
Vicki is passionate about finding ways to help people use support to build their resilience, find their inner strength and identify their own gifts and talents. When people can solve their own problems with help of family, friends and neighbours, they often begin to help the community grow too.
Suhayl Afzal was a member of the team until his sudden death in 2015. He is deeply missed and he made very real and heartfelt contributions to our work. Suhayl had a degree in journalism, was passionate about expressing the changes society needs to make and was an active blogger at musculardystopia.com. Suhayl met the team when we worked together in a partnership with MECOPP together we worked with Chinese, South Asian and Gypsy/Traveller communities in Perth and Kinross, Edinburgh, West Lothian and Argyll and Bute to learn about SDS and experiment with using small amounts of money to meet outcomes. The website design was influenced strongly by Suhayl’s ideas.
Mark is an actor, director and writer and he has been using Forum Theatre for over 10 years. He uses this method to help individuals and groups identify how processes or disempowerment and oppression combine to inhibit our power to act usefully in the world. In this model, oppression happens outside us and also inside us. So the answer lies in both these realms too. He has worked with a wide range of groups, citizens and professionals, including National Theatre Scotland, The Grassmarket Project, Glasgow University and The Scottish Prisons Service.