Happy New Year from All at GDA.
Here’s to Hope, Kindness and having our voices heard in 2021.
Like others around the world, we’ve said goodbye and ‘good riddance’ to 2020. The challenges it brought are still here and evolving – but so is the determination of the GDA community to support each other through it, and drive forwards together, towards the better times we know lie ahead.
The festive break can be challenging for many disabled people in ordinary times: with many services closed or reduced, isolation, poverty and barriers can be even more acute.
Building on our work to connect and support people remotely throughout 2020, GDA were able to bring people together online and through phone calls, between Christmas and New Year.
Over 100 GDA members attended our #HolidayGetTogether via zoom on the 30th December to lift each other’s spirits, share tips and stories of kindness and connection – many GDA learners had run their own online get-togethers, including a Christmas day ‘Knit and Natter’ and had reached out to one another throughout the break – showing the strength and resilience that flourishes in our GDA community.
Our own #HolidayGetTogether included seated yoga, guided meditation led by our Wellbeing Advisors, and wrapped up with a singalong of a GDA version of Auld Lang Syne, led by George Drennan, our Purple Poncho Players’ Musical Director.
Alongside continuing risks and uncertainties, 2021 brings with it the hope of change: the vaccine rollout is taking hold, but just as importantly: the pandemic has highlighted beyond doubt that system change is something we can and must achieve, and 2021 is off to a running start to make this happen.
- GDA’s extensive work on the Scottish Government’s Social Renewal Advisory Board will help get vital calls to action released in coming weeks – Tressa Burke, our Chief Exec, has worked tirelessly to ensure our members’ voices and contributions are built in.
- Our Social Care Expert Group has been feeding their lived experience into Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Social Care, also due to report this month. Hundreds of GDA members have come forward to contribute their expertise to the ongoing Reform of Adult Social Care – so we are lining up a series of deep-dive discussions on different aspects of our social care system.
- Alongside Glasgow City Convenor for Equalities, Cllr Jen Layden, GDA is co-chairing the Disability Workstream of Glasgow’s Social Recovery Taskforce, with colleagues from our Disabled People-led Organisation Network, and other brilliant partners and allies.
- The Scottish Government’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) team are supporting us to pilot new ways of involving disabled people in these strategic decisions about how our resources are spent at these critical junctures.
- Just yesterday we were delighted to share a platform with Professor Toby Lowe of the Centre of Public Impact – to speak about PB and its potential to transform mainstream budgeting and governance processes, at a fantastic event by the coalition for Care and Support Providers, on ‘Big Ideas for the Future of Social Care’.
- Our Drivers for Change network has its first meeting of 2021 today to review progress across these areas and plan next steps – including our Manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Elections.
While driving forwards change, we continue to support our members individually and collectively, to build confidence, connections and break down barriers, through our ongoing programmes: providing support with Wellbeing, Digital Inclusion, Social Connections through our Learning programme, and Welfare Rights through our Rights Now! project.
To find out more or make a referral, please contact us or see our website, www.gda.scot