Our vision creates opportunities in Highland for people with learning disabilities and autism to contribute their talents and fulfill their aspirations through citizenship, community connecting, developing their skills and enabling their stories to be shared. We believe in their voices and their lived experience as the means of creating change, and as such, people with learning disabilities and/or autism are ‘experts’.
“Our vision is that the Highlands will be a place where we have control over our own lives and the services we receive. We will be part of our local communities : living here, working here and enjoying leisure, recreation and education here. We will enjoy better health and we will be free from bullying and harassment”.
Our vision is ambitious and responsive, our style creative and quirky. We challenge the attitudes, behaviour, cultures and systems that prevent people with learning disabilities and/or autism being active citizens , who are at the heart of creating change by using their voice to make life better and fairer! We speak up about human rights and are founded upon the truth and integrity of lived experience in Highland.
Our Values & Principles
We have agreed some rules about how we work. These are:-
- We have got to make things change
- We have to knock down barriers for good
- We want to include all people with learning disabilities and/or autism and all means all
- People with learning disabilities and/or autism must control the project
- We will go into partnership with anyone else who can help us because we want people to work together
We identified 5 barriers to us being having the best life that we can and 5 solutions to make life better and fairer :-
- The way people think about us and treat us – We need to change the way people think about us and treat us.
- We don’t have many people we can turn to for friendship or support – Get to know more people to whom we can turn to for help and friendship.
- We don’t feel important or in control of our lives – Change the way we feel about ourselves so we feel more in control of our lives.
- Few of us have jobs so we don’t have money to do the things we’d like to do – Work with others so we can get jobs so we have more money to do what we would like
- Our health problems are too often ignored and we don’t get the best treatment – Create healthy lifestyles for ourselves
The spirit of Health and Happiness is about promoting local solutions to meet local needs identified by local people! We are home grown!To ensure that people with learning disabilities and/or autism are included, we work in ways which actively encourage their participation and ownership of our projects and how they are delivered. We are well connected to our ‘experts’ (people with learning disabilities and/or autism), our partner organisations, our local networks, and to local and National strategies.
What is community development?
We are a community development organisation and work with the following principles:-
Empowerment: We encourage people to be confidant in speaking up for themselves and recognising their strengths and abilities as valued citizens and leaders of social change. We exist to challenge the barriers in society that refuse to see people with learning disabilities and/or autism as worthwhile, gifted, and equal members of their communities.
Full Citizenship: We know that being able to fully participate in planning our lives and being at the heart of decisions made about us not only benefits individuals but communities. Person-centred working only has meaning if people genuinely believe in the humanity of those of us excluded or stigmatised. Changing hearts and minds is the only way to have sustained impact on practice.
Collective Action: We are strong in how we stand together on the issues that affect us and welcome any one or any organisation that seeks to do this with us. Our capacity and ability to make change happen stronger by working together with those who share our values and vision.
Opportunity and Problem Focused Learning: We are asset based and solution focused! We do not expect change to be quick or easy but we believe in being proactive and connecting to partners who all wants to achieve the vision of a fairer and better life.