Conference Workstreams

Our Workstreams

1st Session Workstreams
Self-advocacy Success Story: My Life My Choice
Pam and Kate from Oxfordshire self-advocacy organisation My Life My Choice share how and why the organisation has grown, and share the lessons they have learnt along the way.


Kate Tokley
Communications and Campaigns Co-ordinator at MLMC
Kate looks after the My Life My Choice (MLMC) website and social networks, and helps to promote the organisation in the media. It’s her job to tell people how good MLMC is, and organise MLMC campaigning.
Kate has been helping to run campaigns for 10 years and working in charity communications for 8 years. She is passionate about helping people to live their best possible life.


Pam Bebbington

Consultant at MLMC
Pam has been chair of the My Life My Choice (MLMC) trustees for 3 years, before stepping down to become a consultant. She is one of our most experienced Power Up Trainers, co-facilitates the Oxford self-advocacy group, works as a MLMC Expert by Experience and inspector, and help to run Stingray Nightclub. She has been a regular attendee of our Banbury self-advocacy group since it started 8 years ago.
She is an experienced self-advocate and tireless campaigner for the rights of people with a learning disability.

HOLD, the future in your hands - home ownership for people with disabilities
An overview of the unique Government approved home ownership model known as HOLD (Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities) covering eligibility, how it works and the range of benefits to the buyer, their family, Local Authorities/Clinical Commissioning Groups and the country as a whole! We’re also hoping to be joined by a parent of someone who’s already bought a home of their own using HOLD to explain just what a difference it’s made to all their lives.


David Abbey
David Abbey has worked in the financial services sector since 1984 and is a fully qualified Financial Adviser. Back in 1997 he was invited to join a ‘steering group’ to develop a process to enable people with a disability (who also rely on benefits for their income) to buy a home of their own. The result was a unique Government approved shared ownership model, known as HOLD (Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities). David then established MySafeHome Limited to provide everyone involved in helping people with disabilities realise their dream of home ownership with the support they need and to date almost 1,300 individuals have used HOLD to buy their own home. Passionate about the personalisation agenda David is the UK’s subject matter expert in home ownership for people with disabilities and in July 2017 was honoured to be elected to the LDE Representative Body.

What is Assistive technology and how can using technology really change our lives for the better – what could it do for You?
Matthew Warnes and Alison Rose-Quirie of Grandcare will explain what Assistive technology is, how simple it is to use – you may even get a chance to have a go- and what is could mean for you to enhance and retain your independence, keep you safe and help with feelings of isolation. We hope to have with us, some people who already use assistive technology to explain how it has transformed their lives.


Alison Rose-Quirie
Early career as a Prison Governor, first operational female into Wandsworth prison and youngest Governor of a male prison on transfer to the independent sector. MD of GSL (now G4S) prisons and immigration and advised on international development projects.

Changed career path to Secure mental health as MD for Priory and later Care UK. Lead the development of innovative rehabilitation services and a unique philosophy of care, always putting the service user at the very heart of the business. She was, twice, elected to Chair the Independent Mental Health Alliance and championed the cause of the sector and service users. Involved in Parliamentary Groups, Ministerial Advisory Groups and co- authored, “The Pursuit of Happiness, a new ambition for our Mental Health services in 2014”.

Until taking the decision to step out of operational management, Alison was the CEO of the multi award winning Swanton Care and Community, Alison is on the Board of Care England and a founder trustee of Learning disability England. She is a visiting Chair for the CQC and a Special Advisor for the LGA for Peer Reviews of Commissioning for Better Outcomes.


Matthew Warns
He founded the company following a tragic car accident which resulted in both legs being amputated above the knee and 65% third degree burns to his body.

After more than 130 operations, Matthew’s only opportunity to live independently was to design and build a house with environmental controls and assistive technology. He wanted to use this experience and his technology background to help others with disabilities live in the comfort and dignity they deserve.

Matthew developed GrandCare into a successful business which not only gives adults with learning and physical disabilities the opportunity to live independently, it also reduces the overall cost of providing care and support for local authorities and care providers.

The Adaptive Technology industry is specialised and fast changing.

Matthew and his team constantly source new products and innovations which they feel can deliver a real benefit to people’s lives. Matthew’s vision is that people have the right to empower themselves with enabling technologies to stay healthy, safe, and happy at home.

Living with loss
Families worry endlessly about what how their sons and daughters with learning disabilities and autism will cope when they are no longer around. Help is available to write a will or appoint a legal guardian for those who will need one, but talking about the emotional impact of grief and loss is particularly hard and most of us shy away from it.
We will share ideas for simple resources to help people live well with change. Memory boxes, goodbye folders and simple scrap books can all help people to talk about feelings and remember the good times.
Everyone will have an opportunity to talk about their experience of everyday loss. Learning from the past, by the end of the workshop, everyone will have a basic ‘Saying Goodbye’ profile for everyday change and loss. We hope this will prepare you in some way for those difficult conversations we all keep putting off!


Liz Wilson
Liz Wilson is the Family Consultant at Dimensions but is also mum, sister aunt and cousin to people with learning disabilities. She has worked in mediation, advocacy and alongside disabled people and families to make sure people are informed about their rights and have the skills and support they need to speak up for themselves.

She is passionate about community and inclusion and looks to shine a light on the small things that make a big difference to people’s lives
National Minimum Wage and Sleep ins
The workshop will help you understand the current position of HMRC and the Government and the case law so you can decide how to deal with HMRC inspections, directions for a self-review and employee complaints effectively.


Matt Wort
Matt Wort, Partner
Matt is a problem solver for employment and social care issues, who relishes the opportunity to resolve challenging situations by identifying commercial solutions and leads the health and social care work at Anthony Collins Solicitors.

Matt has been instrumental in challenging the Government and HMRC on their recent announcements regarding sleep-in care and compliance. Through Freedom of Information requests, Matt and the employment team have been able to demonstrate that the Government and HMRC’s approaches are unreasonable, helping many providers in the sector avoid notices of underpayment.

Matt has significant experience in challenging HMRC and advising on National Minimum Wage issues, alongside other strategic and operational employment advice to health and social care providers. His specialisms include managing change, resolving employee or trade union disputes, TUPE and Local Government Pension Scheme issues, National Minimum Wage advice, and general social care issues.

2nd Session Workstreams
Supported Loving
Supported Loving is a national network of people with and without learning disabilities who are passionate about everyone having the right to have love. In our workshop will be getting intimate, talking about all things love and relationships for people with learning disabilities. We will be exploring some of the challenges that can stop people from finding love and having relationships, while also thinking what role our values have on love and relationships.


Claire Bates
Supported Loving was started by Dr. Claire Bates from Choice Support who wanted the findings of her PhD on relationships for people with learning disabilities to make a difference to peoples’ lives. Supported Loving was created to to raise awareness of the importance of love and relationships, share best practice and campaign for organisations to improve how they support people in this area. The Supported Loving network has many members including a mix of people with and without disabilities who and meets regularly.


Gillian Leno

Gill Leno, sex and relationships teacher and researcher, working with people who have learning, physical and sensory disabilities as well as autism spectrum conditions

Sui Ling Tang

Sui Ling Tang a passionate self-advocate and star of the C4 News film on Supported Loving
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the new benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Understandably, lots of people and their family carers are worried about the change and what it might mean for them. Come to this workshop for some practical tips to help you through the process, put in a good application and improve your chance of getting the right award.


Rhianon Gale
Rhianon has been involved in the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families for around 20 years. She has worked in health and social care services and the charity sector in various roles including as manager of a national service supporting family carers, and previously as a social worker and support worker. Rhianon has been an active member of the National Valuing Families Forum for several years and is well networked with family carer-led groups across England. She now works independently, offering social work, training and consultancy services, specialising in the rights of, and support for, families that include a person with a learning disability.

Rhianon lives with ‘invisible’ disabilities herself and supports family members with psychological and physical disabilities, drawing from her first-hand understanding of the obstacles that people with disabilities and family carers can face.

Rhianon runs workshops for family carers on topics including ‘Using the law to get the right support’, ‘Decision Making and the Mental Capacity Act’, and ‘Personal Independence Payment’. She also works with support providers and delivers training on additional topics such as the Care Act, Welfare Benefits and supporting people with a ‘Whole Family Approach’.
Falling in love again- new approaches for providers and commissioners to work together
When money is tight, relationships can be tested. Commissioners are being expected to get more for less with health and social care budgets and providers are being asked to change how they do things and strip back services with some feeling that they are no longer able to provide good quality, safe care and support. Despite this gloom we are also seeing new ways for commissioners and providers to work together around what the people that use the services and their families want and get good results.
This session is about sharing the work of providers and commissioners that is based on good relationships and new ways of coming together to provide the support that people with learning disabilities want in their communities. We will look at examples of alliance contracting and other collaborative approaches. We will be asking attendees to come with examples of where providers are working well with commissioners.


Alicia Wood
Alicia is Head of Public Affairs for Dimensions, a national not for profit organisation that supports people with learning disabilities. She is co-founder of Learning Disability England and sits on the representative body. Alicia is also a Fellow of the RSA & Centre for Welfare Reform & sits on the boards of Lets for Life & Books Beyond Words.

Alicia has worked in the statutory and voluntary sectors and has led strategies to create more housing for people with learning disabilities and managed a pilot project to test home ownership options and natural supports for people with learning disabilities.

More recently, Alicia led on the national housing delivery plan for people with learning disabilities, working with the Department of Health, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government. She has also led national development programmes for In Control, Paradigm and the NDTi working on housing, community development and personalisation. Alicia has written many publications including Life Begins at Home, Reach Standards in Supported Living, Reach Out- personalising community and day services, Gadgets, Gizmos & Gaining Independence - the use of Assistive Technology by People with a Learning Disability and Choice Based Lettings and People with a Learning Disability.


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