Options welcomes the Archbishops’ Reimagining Care Commission report.

Yesterday, the Archbishops’ Reimagining Care Commission published Care and Support Reimagined: A National Covenant for England. Options welcomes the report, particularly the notion that ‘the central aim of social care should be to enable people to live the best lives they can, recognising that each of us is individual and unique’. This aligns with the mission and beliefs that Options has held for almost 30 years.

The role social care plays in enabling people to live full lives is not fully understood by the wider public. We know that great support can have a transformative impact on the lives of those who draw on it, yet social care is often associated with decline and crisis. This view completely overlooks the richness and complexity of support work which involves ‘not only help with personal care, but social and emotional support; help to participate in work, training and education; to engage with friends, family and social networks; to contribute to your local community … and to have fun’.

We recognise and welcome the report’s focus on communities.  Support work is not a one-way street.  The lives of those who provide support are made richer through their relationships with those who access it.  We see daily that those who access support have a positive and profound impact on their communities, make a huge contribution to those communities, and change wider societal perceptions of what it means to be a person with a learning disability.  Many of the people we support at Options are members of local churches and community groups and we welcome the report’s proposals to encourage more communities to ‘look outward and join-up with what is already going on.’  There is more that we can do together, adopting the asset-based approach that the report advocates.

We endorse the report’s call for reform of care and support in England, and agree that ‘recent attempts by the government to introduce changes… are insufficient, lack ambition, are too short-term and lack widespread support’. These reforms do not reflect the value social care can add to the lives of those who need support, nor do they reflect the highly-skilled nature of the role played by those who provide this support.

Options will continue to advocate for reform to the way social care currently works – we want a better deal for people we support and our staff. We are pleased to be a member organisation of both Learning Disability England and VODG, and look forward to working together to create change and build a better world for people with learning disabilities and those who support them.

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