Many thanks to Paddy Carstairs, Development Worker (NIN) at ARC Scotland, for this guest blog describing the recent Talking Mats ‘Charter for Involvement’ project.
The National Involvement Network (NIN) is a large group of people who get support from different organisations across Scotland. Members meet to share ideas and experiences of being involved in things that affect their lives. In 2015 NIN published the Charter for Involvement. The Charter explains in their own words how people want to be more involved in:
- the support they receive
- the organisations that support them
- the wider community
Organisations are invited to sign up to the Charter. This means making a commitment to put the Charter into practice. At time of writing 81 organisations, including 7 H&SCPs have done so.
NIN members wanted to make sure that more people could engage with the Charter. In particular it wanted to help people express their views on living independently and taking part in their communities.
In partnership with Talking Mats and ARC Scotland eight NIN members trained in how to use a Talking Mat. They then created and designed a Talking Mat for the Charter for Involvement, using images that featured in the Charter. The theme was “Taking Part” and came in two stages, firstly using concrete images and then more abstract ones. A film was made to record the experience of NIN members developing and trying out the new tool.
With the help of the organisations that support them, NIN members piloted the new Charter Talking Mat and conducted 60 interviews with supported people. This helped everyone learn about what worked well and not so well, and changes were able to be made.
Just as importantly, it showed that people who get support were able to use a Talking Mat to help other supported people make changes and improve the support they receive. NIN members found that when thinkers gave a card the thumbs down, as listeners they were able to support people to seek changes to their support that they wanted, or pass on information that would help improve their lives. Some thinkers said they felt more comfortable doing the Talking Mat with another person who gets support.
These experiences have been recorded in a film called Talking Mats Stories. In it NIN members describe the impact the Charter Talking Mat has had, the changes that were made possible to enable people do things they wanted, and the confidence and satisfaction they drew from being able to help other supported people.
Talking Mats Stories can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aer7v4fyFU&t=3s
Or by visiting the NIN page on the ARC Scotland website – https://arcscotland.org.uk/involvement/national-involvement-network/
Talking Mats Stories was produced by Media Education
Organisations that supported NIN members to produce the Charter Talking Mats were: the Action Group, Hansel, Turning Point Scotland, Cornerstone, Streets Ahead Borders, the Redwoods Caring Foundation and Hillcrest Futures (formerly Gowrie Care)
Development Worker (NIN)
If you are interested in finding out about Talking Mats Projects check out this link – https://www.talkingmats.com/projects/
And do get in touch if you’d like to discuss any potential projects – we would love to hear from you!