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WELCOME TO ALL FELLOW CAMPAIGNERS for DISABILITY RIGHTS - a pan disability blog connecting my work with, EQUAL LIVES, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and the Survivor History Group.
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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

ROFA & NSUN

Watching the ROFA Sheffield conference online today it struck me that there are similarities with what the National Survivor User Network (NSUN - www.nsun.org.uk) has been, and still is doing, in developing a national (England) network of mental health service user led organisations. Since its own inaugural conference in 2007 the accumulation of knowledge and useable experience has been weighty and sometimes valuable. The ball has overcome the initial political and social inertia and is rolling well.

It seems a crying shame that there is a schism between NSUN and the aspirations of the Reclaiming Our Futures (ROFA) Sheffield conference. I can’t help thinking that NSUN has done much of the hard work organising and drawing together an increasing bond with many MH user led organisations (ULOs). If I’m right then ROFA must gain tremendously from joining with NSUN in their common cause. ROFA can learn a great deal to their advantage in this respect and NSUN could be a lot richer from the broadening of their social milieu with many constructive pan-disability bodies.

As a past member of the NSUN Management committee, later the Board of Trustees, I talked a good deal about NSUN’s narrow remit, pointing out ad nauseam that many MH users also had physical and sensory impairments and were also socially disabled as a result. Not a lot of notice was taken although we did establish a link with Shaping Our Lives.

It seems a shame, for example, that NSUN have, in partnership with other organisations and individuals including the National Involvement Partnership, has produced a document entitled 4Pi, Involvement for Influence (http://tinyurl.com/o6rud8l), and there is an open invitation for other organisations to critique the work.

This document, although it needs tweaking as it’s contradictory and to my mind a bit ‘mealy mouthed’ in parts, is eminently useable by ROFA and could contribute to the ambition, like at the NSUN 2007 conference, to form a National voice for disabled people.

ROFA too, has a huge advantage in that it isn’t Londoncentric. In my opinion too much (not all by any means) of the work NSUN does is in the context of the social structures and cultures of South East England and the London boroughs - they will protest that they have done a lot of work in the North East - I yield to that and it could be a good conduit.

An enthusiatic supporter of ROFA and NSUN I hope, in the near future, to do some talking to both with a view to them joining hands. I’ve posted this to both.

Mike Llywelyn.
14th July, 2015.

1 comment:

Mark Harrison said...

Thanks for this Mike – I have forwarded to ROFA steering group colleagues. One of the participants in the conference was saying a similar things. I agree we have to make links with the survivor movement.

Here is a link to Jenny Morris’s speech:

http://jennymorrisnet.blogspot.co.uk/

Cheers

Mark

Mark Harrison
CEO
Equal Lives

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