Case Study: Preparing a Cooperative for Finishing the Pilot

We are fast approaching the end of our National Community Cooperative Pilot Project. We are now deeply focused on embedding the learnings the group have had to date and supporting their transition into continuing without an Independent Facilitator.

One group we’ve worked with is a home of five individuals living under one roof.

About the group

This group of people have been living together for a number of years and each has varied knowledge in understanding their rights both as a person and an NDIS participant, and experience in decision-making. The group have house meetings with their onsite support provider and individual access to advocates and community visitors. This is the first time however that they have had an opportunity to come together as a group and discuss what they want their support to look like in private, with the support of an independent person.

Important things the group chose to focus on

The group has focused their sessions to-date on describing what an ordinary, meaningful life looked like to them, and what supports they would like and need to achieve this. They also shared activities they liked to do, including going for walks, staying connected with friends and family, shopping, and crafts – painting is a big hit in this household, with beautiful work all over the home! They reflected on what supporting them to achieve this looks like.

Privacy was something that was important to the group – both to learn more about and share feedback with their support staff. The group spent time learning about what privacy means, and also did facilitated activities to explore what is and isn’t private to them, and how much so.

“Speaking up” was also an important theme to the group. Facilitated activities on this helped them to understand what it means, reflect on how confident they each feel to speak up and explore what can help them build this up. As a group, they also talked about ways they can be supported to “speak up”. They as a group decided they like to explicitly be asked “Is anything bothering you” by the support team at house meetings – they shared that except for a few particular topics, they are happy for this to be in team meetings as they’re happy to share in front of one another.

Preparing the Coop for no longer being facilitated

We are now focusing on how the group would like to be supported to keep this up as much as possible when the Pilot is complete and so they no longer have a facilitator. 

For this group, the facilitator is supporting them to create a booklet that captures a lot of what they have talked about together throughout the Pilot, to provide for their staff. It is called “Our Home, Our Choice and Control”. The facilitator pulls everything they have shared together, taking them through the information, asking them if there are any gaps in what they would like their staff team to know, and getting their final approval, so that it can be shared with the staff. Of course, each Cooperative member will also have a copy. It is written in a way that is meaningful to the group, including graphics and plain English.

The booklet is rich with information about how the Cooperative likes to be supported to communicate what is important to them, give feedback and ideas, make decisions together, and ultimately have choice and control in their home. 

Some content included:

  • What they would like to talk about in House Meetings, and how they each like to be supported to meaningfully participate (eg. Give me information in advance, show us options and examples, tell us you’ve heard our decision)
  • How they make decisions as a group, and how best to support this
  • What’s important to them, and how this can be supported (eg help me to set up activities when I ask)
  • Specifics about how they wish for their privacy to be respected (eg. Be mindful about who is around when you ask me personal questions, always wait for me to welcome you into my room when you knock)

From here

Our time with this Cooperative has been rich with learning, practising decision-making, practising speaking up, and an opportunity to privately raise concerns as a group, and be supported to navigate giving feedback to their provider. While there is so much more we would have loved to support this Cooperative through, we hope that this booklet assists them to be supported by the people in their lives to continue having choice and control in their homes.    

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