Annette's blog - Disability History Month
Progress Housing Group Operations Director, Annette Stevens, writes for Disability History Month UK
Earlier in December, Progress Housing Group and Reside Housing Association colleagues met up for our first housing operations team building day after Reside joined the Group on 30 September this year.
It was a great day. We spent the morning looking at some of our policies and procedures and how we can develop bespoke services that meet the needs of tenants with a learning disability and autism. We also talked about how important it is to listen to our customers. Colleagues working on integrating Reside and Progress Housing Group are full of energy and commitment to make positive changes centred around the needs of people with a learning disability and autism.
I also recently spent two days working alongside colleagues from Property Services, looking at the procurement of our repairs and maintenance service. They too are passionate about tailoring the service to meet the needs of people with learning disability and autism. It was fantastic to see that throughout both days, there were lots of ideas about how we can provide a specialist repairs service.
It was great to have these discussions during Disability History Month. Our aim is to be the best supported living provider in the UK, and I can see there is a real drive and energy across the Group to meet this aim.
The aim of DHM is to:
• Celebrate the lives of disabled people now and in the past
• Challenge disablism by exploring oppression over time and now
• Achieve equality.
Part of the focus this year is on hidden disability. Many of our customers have hidden disabilities, which includes autism and learning disabilities. Our colleagues will also have friends or family with hidden disabilities, or have a hidden disability themselves.
As the campaigners for UKDHM say, "(People with hidden impairments)... face the double whammy of being disabled and needing reasonable adjustments and respect, but also not being believed. They either keep quiet and pass as non-disabled, at great cost to their mental health, or they are not believed." (www.ukdhm.org)