Happy Mattering Day

It’s What Matters To You Day. This might not matter to you yet but to me it’s the cornerstone of my life.

I have a personal budget provided by my local social care team the aim of which is to enable the things that matter to me to be part of my life.

I saw a tweet this morning by disabled activist Lucy Watts sharing the things that mattered to her. This inspired me to list my own priorities, many of which feature in my social services support plan. I divided mine into three key areas: People, Daily Life and Health.

A digital illustration with the title What Matters? to Me in white writing on a pink background. A bubble with four people drawn in it is surrounded by the words: family, play, choice, respect and friendship. A drawing of a house with 'daily life' written on it is surrounded by the words: my home, my work, being clean and organised, creativity and being listened to. A drawing of a wheelchair with the word health on top of it is surrounded by the words: pain management, feeling safe, sleep, spending time outside, wheelchairs and swimming.

Thinking about the people in my life, my priorities are spending time with my family and friends, and in particular having the energy and support to play with my niece. Being a good friend is also important to me and I want to have choice over who cares for me. Ultimately I want to feel respected and at ease with those who are supporting me.

Day-to-day I want to stay living at the castle and be able to keep it clean and organised. It’s important to me to be able to make my own decisions and to feel listened to. I love my work, and I love feeling that I’m making a positive contribution, and that I have opportunities to be creative.

Health-wise my wheelchairs matter to me a lot. I love spending time outside, swimming and staying as active as I can. Having access to effective pain management is important for my wellbeing, and ultimately I want support to feel and be safe.

Many of these things will matter to most people but lots of non-disabled people probably don’t have to think about them consciously or at least not list them to share with strangers.

Having conversations about what matters to individuals has been good practice for quite a long time, but this type of person-centred planning has been hit hard by the austerity politics of the last decade.

Good quality health and social care is the bedrock of a just and humane society.

This should matter to us all. As a society we shouldn’t require sick, elderly and disabled people to spell out that they are people and deserve fulfilling lives. We need to hold onto good practice and to keep looking for ways to ensure that everyone has a chance to have the things that matter to them listened to.

Find out more about ‘What Matters To You Day’ here. I’m lucky to have great care and to live a happy and fulfilling life. I decided to mark today by making a donation to the Disability Law Service to help ensure that disabled people who need it have access to legal advice and support.

If you’re in a position to donate time or money to something you care about, What Matters To You Day would be good day to take action.

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