A different story

Asher Weber Do you have what it takes to stick to a goal and turn your life around? Lexi and Danny Reed did.

A different story

A different story of those public perceptions are fair.

A different story

We can all quote stories of great social care, of lives being changed by sheer creativity, of inspirational compassion and, in my view, of some of the most radical transformation of any public service sector. But polls, focus groups and research agree: Social care is only guaranteed to make the news when it is being talked about as going bust, or when there has been an abuse scandal.

It was fascinating then, to be in a crowded room with the organisers and supporters of Social Care Future, the gathering planned to take place in parallel to the annual National Children and Adults Services conference in Manchester. We were hearing from The Frameworks Institute about their ground-breaking work with Joseph Rowntree Foundation JRF on reframing the issue of poverty and how to tackle it.

Research shows that these are not true: But reframing the issue of poverty has made a real difference to how JRF could get its research-based messages through to different audiences. It also involved using some simple, visual images that make sense to people.

They A different story used the idea of strong currents — the low wage, high housing cost economy, and life events like becoming disabled — which people cannot swim against however hard they try. It was a compelling presentation about a successful campaign, whose messages could be found in previously indifferent or hostile papers.

So what should we take from it for social care?

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Firstly, that, whilst the crisis in social care is real and causing misery and suffering, if that is all the public hear about social care, it may not be motivating people and the politicians they elect to aim for change.

In fact, a message that something is in permanent crisis, particularly when the public is unclear or ambivalent about it in the first place, may create a sense of hopelessness: We need to offer people solutions to the crisis — not just solutions to public service economic problems but also showing how social care is the solution to life events which any of us could experience ourselves or in our families.

There were two exciting and hopeful lessons from the session for me. One is that the flip side of the public not understanding and engaging with social care is that we — the social care sector — create and control a lot of the messages. The vast majority would agree that supporting disabled and older people to live good lives is simply the right thing to do: And we have an increasing number of new or emerging approaches to care and support which enable people to live well in their own homes and communities, which work, which people love and which are affordable.

Many in our sector will baulk at the idea of telling a positive story about social care, when they can see the impact of cuts and witness too often tragedies caused by poor care which ruin or even end lives. We should be suspicious of spin and any story we tell has to be grounded firmly in fact.

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But I came out of that room feeling that perhaps we have the means to change how our sector is perceived, supported and ultimately invested in, if only we used them. What would our new story look like? We clearly need to invest in the research and testing to find which messages work, but perhaps they will be about the fact that social care, ignored by so many for so much of their lives, is actually about all of us: All of us at different times in our lives need help to live well.

Without well-funded social care, there will be times when we or our relatives find ourselves lonely, not able to work or stuck in the house: We have already invented kinds of social care which could be futures which people will be inspired by, not scared of.Jan 11,  · Find industry contacts & talent representation.

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A different story

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