Mark Baggley, one of our DPULO Ambassadors, recently visited Mutual Support in Sheffield, after they had recently been awarded a Facilitation Fund grant of £8,625 to develop their organisation through a number of areas including training, user forums, web site development, publicity, etc.
The aim of Mutual Support is to develop a new model of delivering social care. They are looking towards starting trading as a domiciliary care provider as a non-profit making organisation.
They have registered as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) and want to explore other areas of need as directed by their membership. Mutual Support is a co-operative, and is user-led, being controlled by members for members. Co-operative values and principles are built into the organisation so that members have influence and control over their care and support.
The organisation has started to develop both services and membership and has entered into a partnership with the Enable Group, who are currently funding the rent on a small office at The Burton Street Foundation (see http://www.burtonstreet.co.uk/) as a base for their project worker. Also, the on site is a cafe run by people with a learning disability and this could be a potential source of future members and users.
What makes Mutual Support interesting is their idea of users, carers and Personal Assistants as part of one organisation. They would agree that there are many barriers to overcome to this working effectively, not least some potential conflicts of interest! For example, if everyone has a vote, how would it be decided to re-invest any funding raised by providing services? Would it lead to the development of new services (for carers or users) or be used to increase the rate of pay to PAs?
Mark met with three of the trustees, plus their project worker and their enthusiasm for both their project and their success in obtaining an award from the Facilitation Fund was infectious. They are aware that they have lots to learn and are actively interested in developing with other groups who may have similar aims and objectives, or have experiences in the areas that they are trying to develop.
If organisations are interested in contacting Mutual Support, please initially contact Mark Baggley (Ambassador) on 01482 878778 or firstname.lastname@example.org as Mutual Support are currently setting up their office and contact details.