Working together long-term makes for better Choice and Control  


Enliven Community believes that the best way to support individuals and groups in achieving choice and control over their shared supports is through long-term collaboration. This approach helps them develop the skills and capacity needed for both immediate and long-term success. While we assist Community Cooperatives in making decisions, our ultimate goal is to empower individuals with the knowledge to apply these skills to other areas of their lives. 

We have seen that this approach works. It steadily builds individual self-confidence, fosters a collective mindset within the Community Cooperative and enhances their knowledge to make informed and beneficial choices. 

Building self-confidence  

Each of us has a unique level of self-confidence, shaped by various factors. Building confidence takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. 

By working long-term with Independent Facilitators, Community Cooperatives and their members can build this confidence. This support might include encouragement, answering questions, identifying barriers and validating concerns.  

Having the confidence to speak up when something isn’t right, or to make decisions, is crucial for maintaining choice and control. 

Community Cooperative members are not just telling us they’re more confident to speak up; they’re showing us. We’re seeing this through an increase in their willingness to provide direct feedback to providers and ask questions when they feel something isn’t fair. 

We’re noticing this change in other parts of people’s lives too, where they are beginning to speak up beyond just their shared supports.

Building collective mindset  

Making important decisions as a group can be challenging, especially when everyone’s needs and preferences regarding their support arrangements are different. Facilitators play a crucial role in this process by ensuring that all voices are heard and that decisions are made fairly and equitably. This allows all members of the Community Cooperative to make decisions effectively. 

A collective mindset, where individual members think as a group, is crucial for making decisions that benefit all. Facilitators help the groups get to know each other, especially in the beginning, to build this way of thinking. 

One example of this in action is when the Community Cooperatives allow each member to speak on a topic without interruption, ensuring everyone understands each person’s perspective before voting. This shows that the Cooperative is working as a collective, valuing each member’s experiences in the decision-making process. The stronger the collective mindset, the fairer the outcomes for the group. 

Building knowledge  

‘Knowledge is power’ rings true for Community Cooperatives. Simply asking people ‘Do you want your shared supports to be different?’ does not work if individuals aren’t empowered with the knowledge of what options are available to them, and what implications they should take into consideration to make informed choices. People need time to take in information, ask questions and consider how it applies to their decisions 

Independent Facilitators work to give Community Cooperative members information and the opportunity to raise questions well in advance of key decision times. This ensures that the group and its members are well-prepared to make informed choices. 


Empowering Long-Term Decisions 

We strongly believe that when it comes to supporting Community Cooperatives to make vital decisions. Long-term collaboration builds self-confidence and empowers them to make the best decision possible, all of which contribute to better choice and control over shared supports. By investing time and resources into these groups, we help them achieve their goals and apply these skills to other areas of their lives. 

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