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Words Matter

Each month we feature an inspirational individual or team who overcome barriers to make a real difference in their communities.  This month we see how individuals from CMG Regard have set up their own self-advocacy group called Campaign 4 Change.

CMG and Regard, a leading provider of support for people with learning disabilities and associated complex needs, has been proudly supporting self-advocacy group – Campaign 4 Change – which is led by 11 of the people it supports.

 Campaign 4 Change (C4C) is made up of members who passionately campaign on issues that affect people with learning disabilities and autism, both on a local and national scale.

 The Group, led by Mary, David, Darren, Mark, Chris, Samir, Frankie, Vicky, Alex, Leon and Stephen are fronting a joint campaign called #MindYourLanguage. The pioneering campaign is aimed at tackling the inappropriate and derogatory language, which is sometimes used by care and health professionals, when speaking to or about people with learning disabilities and/or autism that they support.

 Discussing the importance of the campaign, C4C member Mark said, “how staff speak to people is incredibly important, and being spoken to disrespectfully can really affect how you are being supported”. Mark hopes that the #MindYourLanguage campaign will encourage staff to use respectful language and make the people they support feel respected.

 Another C4C member, Mary, spoke about what the campaign means to her. “It means a lot to me, because we should be communicated to properly”. She hopes that the campaign will ensure “staff speak to the people they support properly and professionally”, and that sometimes, it really is as simple as “using the right words”.

 C4C strongly believes that the language and words that people use are important in shaping people’s attitudes and, in turn, the negative use of language can have a detrimental impact, particularly for people who may already be feeling vulnerable or isolated. Additionally, the choice of negative words can also inadvertently affect the quality of support that a person receives, even being directed at them by a professional.

 CMG and Regard place great importance on its core values of dignity and respect, ensuring that every person they support is treated with dignity, respect and most importantly, as a person. Another key priority for the provider is creating opportunities for people to achieve in their everyday lives – feeling inspired, fulfilled and empowered. These values are proudly held throughout C4C’s work. 

As a result, and alongside the joint #MindYourLanguage campaign, every member of C4C campaigns on their own individual issues that they feel passionately about. This covers everything from people campaigning for the instalment of a pedestrian crossing on a busy local road which regularly affects people with disabilities, school children and elderly people, and tackling hate crimes towards people with learning disabilities by producing a short film to raise awareness, right through to spreading positive messages about the importance of staying active and healthy for good physical and mental wellbeing, and campaigning to raise awareness of issues faced by transgender people with learning disabilities. 

Bolstering its societal impact nationally, C4C is also involved in other national campaigns and groups, such as Supported Loving Network, the Solve Sleep-ins Alliance and Ideas Collective, amongst other social action groups. 

 Discussing C4C and its social impact, Chief Executive of CMG and Regard, Peter Kinsey, said, 

“We are incredibly proud of the hugely important work being undertaken by the C4C group. Each member is going above and beyond to ensure that the world around them is a better, safer and more tolerant place, not just for the sake of themselves but for others around them too. 

“We have all been inspired by their excellent work and they are a true credit to CMG and Regard and the strong values and ethos that we collectively uphold.” 

The Group launched its campaign at CMG’s People’s Conference and held a workshop at the (un)Ordinary Conference, where all speakers were people with learning disabilities.

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