“New Paths to Inclusion“ was a European Leonardo project funded within the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union from October 2009 to September 2011. It aimed to foster inclusion of people with disabilities through a person centred approach.
Inclusion means that all people in a community can participate in all aspects of life such as education, work, living, leisure time activities and life a self determined life. People with disabilities are still often excluded from regular activities in their community and are dependent on facility based disability services, which are mostly not person centred. The UN-convention of the rights of people with disabilities states the right of people with disabilities to be included in all aspects of life and calls for a variety of community based, person centred services.
Person centred planning has been developed mainly in the English speaking countries over the past 30 years to support people with disabilities to life a self determined life in the community (see O’Brien/ O’Brien 2000).
However there are certain barriers to full and effective implementation for person centred planning that were tackled within the project “New Paths to Inclusion”:
- The absence of long term coordinated and certified training programs
- The implementation gap within service providers.
- The absence of sustainable support structures on a regional and national level.
Purpose of the project
The purpose of the project “New Paths to Inclusion” was
- to transfer the newest developments and experiences of person centred planning and practices from the United Kingdom to partners in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and Luxembourg and
- to develop a modular and inclusive training in person centred planning and practise to stimulate organisational change in the participating organisation and countries towards a more person centred practices.
The partnership included service providers, which were willing to develop their services in a more person centred way, vocational education and training organisations, funding authorities, self-advocacy-organisations, research institutions and umbrella organisations on a regional, national and European level as operative and supporting partners. The operative partners were:
- Vocational education and training organisations acting as national coordinators: Academy of the Lebenshilfe (Vienna, Austria), Fachschule für Sozialpädagogik (Lensahn, Germany) and QUIP - Association for Change (Prague, Czech Republic)
- Service providers for people with disabilities as changing organisations and members of the advisory board: Balance (Vienna, Austria), Ostholsteiner Behindertenhilfe (Eutin, Germany), Rytmus (Prague, Czech Republic), Lebenshilfe Südtirol (Italy), APEMH (Luxembourg), Social Advisory Board (Bratislava, Slovakia).
- Research organisations with an expertise in person centred planning: Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)
- Transfer experts in person centred thinking, planning and practice: Helen Sanderson Associates (United Kingdom)
- Organisation with an expertise in supporting online learning platforms: BIDOK (Innsbruck, Austria)
- European umbrella organisation: Inclusion Europe (Brussels, Belgium)
- Project- coordination: queraum. cultural- & social research (Vienna, Austria).
European training course in person centred approaches
The main aim was to develop and pilot an inclusive European training course in person centred planning and practices. The course consists of six modules with seminars each one to three days on a facilitation level, that should enable the participants to support and facilitate person centred planning processes and two additional European multiplication seminars , for those who want to facilitate training events in person centred planning and influence change at organisational and strategic levels.
The inclusive training course and the project were evaluated by Andreas Hinz, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Hinz/Kruschel 2011), who is experienced in person centred planning and practices. Another aim was to get an overview on person centred practices in Europe by a European Survey.
Transfer platforms and conferences
Another important element of the project was the transfer platforms on a regional or national level. The transfer platform promoted the involvement of other organisations interested in the project and person centred planning.
In Germany the transfer platform consisted of a network of about 20 regional partners, who supported the project. They organised a big regional conference “New Paths to Inklusion – Zukunftsplanung in Ostholstein”.In Austria there was a series of big transfer platforms with over 100 participants on different topics like person centred practices in the UK, personal budget, the role of public authorities and service providers in implementing person centred services, a public presentation of different planning processes of the training course. In the Czech Republic a range of person centred planning tools were presented on the QUIP conference for change in Prague. The project was presented on the European conference “Europe in Action” organised by Inclusion Europe in Cyprus in May 2011. In each country the results of the project were presented in autumn 2011 on national conferences.
A next step is to initiate networks for person centred planning and practise in the countries.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
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