Co-production, co-operatives & Cartrefi

Adrian Roper is one of our Associate Directors – and a thorough-going champion of co-production, co-operatives and mutuals. He’s also the CEO of Cartrefi Cymru, a not-for-profit organisation that supports people to lead fulfilled lives – people with disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour, older people – and provides breaks for carers.

Cartrefi are taking a lead on citizen-led approaches in a whole range of ways.

  • They are providing a Floating Support Service in Brecon using systems thinking which focuses on identifying what the service user actually wants and needs, with a strong emphasis on articulating this in their own words, rather than following professional prescriptions and pathways.
  • They’re facilitating the development of a multi-stakeholder co-operative in Llandrindod, bringing together people with learning disabilities, families and support staff in the town to raise their confidence and expectations and capacity to make their lives better through mutual self help.
  • They co-founded the Mid Wales Social Co-operative Consortium as a registered body with the primary purpose of bringing agencies and citizens together to develop new, inclusive ways of achieving well-being for people with social care needs.
  • They’re pioneering a highly effective new approach to ‘Active Support’ for people with learning disabilities. This is based on principles of ‘doing with’, not ‘doing for’, and a strong focus on enabling individuals to have more choice and control over their lives through confidence building, skills development, experiential learning,starting from their strengths and interests.
  • Cartrefi have made an organisational promise to respect service users’ rights and responsibilities as tenants, citizens and ‘co-workers’, and to enable them to enjoy these actively rather than passively.
  • And they are kindly sharing their offices and resources with us in Co-pro Wales. How lovely is that!

For more information about their wondrousness, visit their website:


Why the NHS is the greatest social leveller deaf and disabled people have

By Rebecca Atkinson
“Growing up with the NHS also fed into a sense of identity, one where I was not reliant on the charitable benevolence of others to give me access to sound, but one where I just received it without question, the same as the next person or the one after that, regardless of who we were or what we had in our pocket. And for a child growing up deaf or disabled what more important message is there than to tell them they are equal to others. That their financial or social position won’t impact on their medical chances, they won’t have to stand cap in hand, or watch a richer person hear the world with hearing aids or a cochlear implant whilst they can’t afford to try out anything but the deafness nature gave them. Harry Smith told the Manchester conference that Britain ‘must never let the NHS free from our grasp’. I can only agree.”

Matthew Edmonds on Why Scope’s new campaign might not be the right approach.

“We’re not meeting each other. We’re not getting the chance to learn about disabled identities from disabled people. We’re relying on ad campaigns.

Here’s a radical solution to this awkward fact. Let’s lobby for total access on the transport system, in museums, schools, housing and public spaces, so that disabled people start to become visible, disrupting the falsely homogenous face of public life. More than just ramps and easy-read brochures, it’s a question of advancing an attitude to difference that recognises it’s excluded at every turn, that understands inclusive action as a small step on the long journey towards normalising diversity and creating social spaces that are open to all.

It’s not a sexy answer. It’s not as immediate or as viral as offering simple solutions from on high. But it is the awkward truth.”

CHANGE co-production film

“This video takes a look at the work that CHANGE, JRF and Leeds Community Healthcare Trust’s Membership and Involvement team is doing around workshops with people with disabilities and what they think of the NHS services being provided to them. After recognising a lack of involvement in patient surveys, people were asked come together to look at what worked and what didn’t in the service – what problems have they faced? How can these problems be overcome? The video features interviews with volunteers who provided their insights, as well as NHS and CHANGE staff.” (Via the Scottish Co-production Network.)

Regulation – The unintentional destruction of intentional communities

Regulation has become the primary mechanism for controlling the quality of health and social care services; however it is fraught with problems. In this discussion paper published by the Centre for Welfare Reform, the authors examine the case of the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) – an intentional community which seeks to bring disabled and non-disabled people together in a community of equals. They argue that the regulatory system has effectively ignored the culture and values of this community and instead asserted a set of values which assume that care can be commodified, bought and sold, and controlled like a manufactured product.