Some of you may recognise Faisal – or at least know his voice: he regularly works in our reception area and directs telephone calls at our central office in Goldhawk Road. But this is just one of Faisal’s important roles. He is also part of the London borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Coproduction Implementation Group.
The H&F Co-production Implementation Group makes sure that the eight recommendations set out in the Council’s Disabled People’s Commission report are put into place. The Group is working towards a culture of coproduction that means residents can work together with the Council, and that the borough values and respects the equality and diversity of its residents.
Faisal is part of the group alongside three other disabled residents, four local councillors and four senior council officers. The group meets once every two month and is co-chaired by a disabled resident and a councillor.
Faisal has lived in Hammersmith & Fulham all his life and is committed to coproduction:
“I believe coproduction is a good way to work together to make changes. It means that people have an equal say about how services should be provided and which suit the needs of people.”
On Thursday 13th February, as part of his work with the Group, he travelled to the annual Learning Disability England (LDE) conference in Manchester. The theme of the conference this year was ‘Including Everyone’ and focused on the progress the learning disability community has made towards inclusion.
Members and partners of LDE shared examples of how people and organisations are working in inclusive ways to involve people with learning disabilities. The objective is making sure that they are involved in the decisions that affect them, can live in their community with the same choices as others, are active members of their community and get the same opportunities to live a good life as everyone else.
Faisal gave a talk alongside Kevin Caulfield from the Hammersmith and Fulham Disabled People Coalition. The title of their session was ‘Working together to achieve change – building shared understanding and action’, and also included Isabelle Garnett (from the Homes not Hospitals campaign), Anne Webster (from NHS England) and disabled people, family and self-advocate activists sharing how they have built shared understanding.
Faisal is lucky enough not to get nervous about public speaking until only a few minutes beforehand and really enjoyed giving his talk. As he says, the audience were “hanging on my every word”! He had a great time at the conference and also bumped into a few old friends he hadn’t seen for a long time.
His confidence and calm approach are also important in his role as chairperson of the Hammersmith & Fulham Mencap Safety Net – People First self-advocacy group. He describes himself as a born leader, and we can’t help but agree.
Our congratulations to Faisal for giving the talk and helping to raise awareness of how and why people with a disability must be involved in the decisions that affect them.