We believe: Life is good when everyone listens, is heard, and takes part as they choose.
We all know that there are increasing numbers of people who are socially disadvantaged because of disability, mental health issues or for a myriad of other reasons. In the current national financial situation our local communities and public services struggle to support everyone and the criteria for accessing help to improve your quality of life seems to continually be tightening. On top of that, some services require you to fit into what they can offer, even if you are a round peg and do not want to be in a square hole. Many people are also not looking for a “service” but just want to feel less isolated and misunderstood but can’t see a way forward.
Working with typically marginalised people with learning difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and mental health issues Claire and Dougie became frustrated with the constraints of commissioned services. They decided that they wanted to challenge this and started their social enterprise to fill the gaps, where other support and services weren’t reaching. Their focus is on providing sustainable capacity-building interventions that help people find ways to participate in society.
Communication and shared participation underpin understanding; people are treated as 'other' when society doesn't understand them, when we lack the skills to communicate effectively with or without a shared language. We believe everyone has the right to communicate and participate and we wanted to be able to offer person-centred interventions and training for community members that improve quality of life for us all.
Includify creates opportunities for partnership projects based on service gaps in local areas, working with established organisations and offering services that they cannot supply themselves. In doing this they plan to invest profits back into communities by offering free services for those unable to those who are unable to afford other services.
Like all new business, we have faced challenges around being a Director of a company, understanding how to be an employer and the responsibilities that all those carry with them
Whatever the challenges though, knowing that we have each other’s backs, that we are in it together, and that our other Directors totally believe in what Includify is trying to do makes it possible. The motivation to go for it comes from wanting to improve our communities and see more people communicating and participating, but the strength to carry on comes from the team ethos and spirit.
We have been a legal entity for 5 months, which actually is not very long at all! In terms of impact on individual lives so far we have supported 3 young people with learning disabilities and their families to enable their voice and choices to be heard by others. We have plans to begin delivery of evidence-based social communication learning groups for young adults and their chosen family/friends acting as “coaches”. We are under no illusions that this is a long and slow journey of development, but we believe in what we are offering and we are in it for the long haul.
We hope that in 5 years’ time we will be able to self-sustain the work of Includify and that we will be employing people who are currently far from a job. By then we will have supported hundreds of people to improve their quality of life so that they are communicating more effectively, more of their voices are heard and people are participating in more community activity, to the benefit of us all.
This year our Social Innovation programme will be focussing on new and emerging social innovators who are developing social enterprises that work with or deliver to, people who are affected by disability. If you have an idea you’re looking to get started then find out more on our Programmes page.