This year International Day of People with Disabilities is celebrating the challenges, barriers and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in the context of a global pandemic. Cedar is highlighting the work of the User Forum to mark this theme. The User Forum has been using online tools and visiting venues to influence and inform Service Users, management, staff and external agencies about best practice and positive support.

SCOPE (Service User-Carer-Opportunity-Participate-Engagement)

Using Zoom the User Forum participated in a bespoke session involving Personal and Public Involvement training delivered by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. This session was aimed at supporting Service Users and Carers, to become involved in the development and delivery of health and social care services.

Susan Croy, User Forum Facilitator, said:

"During the pandemic some aspects of User Forum work brought the team closer together as a Regional User Forum. The use of digital technology has been fully embraced and the Forums across Northern Ireland have been able to meet virtually and connect in ways never anticipated a few years ago."

User Forum Visit to City Of Derry Airport

Cedar Foundation’s User Forum was recently invited, along with other charities representing people with disabilities, by the Consumer Council to participate in an Accessibility Audit at the City Of Derry Airport. The aim was to provide a forum for users of the Airport’s Special Assistance services (or their representatives) to share their knowledge and experiences of services at the airport. The visit consisted of a comprehensive tour of the airport, from car park through to the checking in process, security, arrivals and departures areas, the waiting areas and other essential areas such as toilet facilities. Ample opportunity was given at each stage of the visit for the participants, who had lived experience of a range of different disabilities, to comment on accessibility and share their suggestions on how things could be improved.

Foyle Chairperson George Haslett participated along with Forum Facilitator Susan Croy. They both commented it was a great opportunity to promote inclusion.

Northern Ireland Assembly Draft Disability Action Plan

A Cedar Foundation User Forum regional meeting took place in October to discuss the Northern Ireland Assembly Draft Disability Action Plan.

The Assembly Commission have written this draft action plan to explain what they want to do to improve things for disabled people. They wanted to know what User Forum members thought about the ideas in their plan.

Members got involved by answering questions related to the topics in the draft plan and these responses will be submitted by Cedar Foundation.

There were a variety of opinions and views which helped to contribute to a successful meeting.

User Forum member Catherine said:

”It is good to get involved in this consultation as we all can give our opinions and have our voices heard. It is a really good opportunity to speak up.”

Keeping You Safe Training

A number of User Forum Representatives have received ‘Keeping You Safe’ training. This training is co-delivered by user fora members and they describe this as a very valuable experience as it further develops their role within The Cedar Foundation. A summary of the training describes how:

The training describes different types of abuse and underscores that if someone abuses someone else, they are breaking the law. It explores the Adult Safeguarding Prevention and Protection Policy and how Cedar and the Health and Social Care Trusts want to keep you safe. Finally it underlines how abuse of any kind is never acceptable and will be taken very seriouslyStaff and service users are trained to know what abuse is so that they can report it. 

Want to know more about the User Forum?

The User Forum with continue to be focused on making a positive difference to the lives of people with disabilities by influencing and informing services that will support them to live fully inclusive lives. If you would like to know more about the User Forum and download the newsletter please visit our dedicated page.