Towards the end of last year, I had the privilege of visiting Living Options Devon, one of the leading user-led organisations in the country, let alone the South West.
There are 3 things that struck me about why Living Options Devon is so successful in what it does:
- Working constructively in partnership with a range of different organisations, especially the local authority and other disability organisations in the area
- Solid delivery of the services and projects they deliver
- An entrepreneurial spirit that sees opportunities in every nook and cranny of their wide range of activities.
This is all brilliantly delivered by a number of fantastic staff (who kindly took some time to meet with me and share what they do) and brought together under the leadership of an excellent CEO, Diana Crump.
An example of the entrepreneurial spirit that Living Options has is the Countryside Mobility South West. This is a project created, managed and operated by Living Options Devon.
It aims to greatly increase the opportunities for mobility impaired, older people and their families to experience and enjoy the countryside of the South West through the provision of specialist mobility equipment. These include all-terrain “Tramper” scooters and accessible “Wheelyboats”.
As well as reflecting the sorts of things their members were asking for, Living Options Devon has also made the most of the fact it is a local, South West-based organisation. Wheelboats might not work too well in Luton!
Living Options has brought together a partnership of relevant organisations and secured funding to deliver this great project, turning it into an effective business. What’s more, they’re looking at how other partners across the country – especially user-led organisations – could set up a similar project, with support from them.
Below is relevant information about this opportunity, as well as details of the Countryside Mobility project and feedback from people who have used it.
It’s a reminder of what local user-led organisations can do and the opportunities they can make the most of.