In June comes the pilot phase of the implementation of the Support Circles Model by the local PSONI circles in Bytom, Zgierz and Tarnów, implemented as part of the Circles of Support – The Future Begins Today project, which will be implemented since 2021. an end. Although the project is about to end, the idea of supporting circles is broadening its horizons.
The aim of the project is to develop an environmental support system for adults with intellectual disabilities for the time they will live or live without parents in local communities. Circles of Support is a solution included in the National Strategy for People with Disabilities for 2021-2030, which was adopted in February 2021. A dozen such environments have been created in Poland, creating a community that supports people with intellectual disabilities. The Safe Future model, based on the Circles of Support, has been implemented for more than two years in 9 communities in Poland in: Jarosław, Suwałki, Ostróda, Biskupiec, Elbląg, Goleniów, Nidzica, Gdańsk and Warsaw, where we see important changes on a daily basis. perceive. in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. In 2021 new local communities joined Bytom, Zgierz and Tarnów.
Is there a project “Circles of Support – The Future Begins Today”
The project “Circles of Support – The Future Begins Today” is being carried out by local PSONI circles together with the BORIS Association from the grant of the Active Citizens – National Fund program, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the EEA funds. people with intellectual disabilities In three local communities: Tarnów, Bytom and Zgierz, a social network of friendly people was built around people with disabilities – Support Circles.
30 people (15 adults with intellectual disabilities and 15 parents/carers) received direct support under the project. Community support for families and people with intellectual disabilities was initiated, consisting of neighbours, volunteers, nearby service points, cafes and public institutions.
A broad coalition of allies has been formed, ie various institutions, shops, cultural service institutions, education and support institutions that welcome and support people with intellectual disabilities with an open heart. As part of many project activities, many educational meetings were organized for specialists and representatives of local communities, who contributed to the development of a local Support Circle Center in each of the communities. Training and educational seminars made it possible to instill the idea of support circles among the coalition partners, which will remain an important part of the working methodology.
Thanks to numerous educational activities, the support of experts, specialists at different levels and lawyers, it was possible to organize many legal affairs, secure material resources for the future life of people with intellectual disabilities, when their guardians / parents are missing .
You can read how many lives have changed on the project website www.kregiwsparcia.pl/przyklady-zarzenia/. This is proof of how support circles change the lives of many people with intellectual disabilities, who until now had to solve many problems on their own.
Many representatives of local authorities expressed their support for the environmental approach. Dozens of organizations, catering establishments, cultural centers and representatives of local authorities have signed a statement to join the corps of allies from support circles. The seminars organized in local communities also included people with disabilities, parents and environmental partners, presenting the problems they face in their daily lives. Special are the activities of specialists who work with people with intellectual disabilities on a daily basis, thanks to their approach these people get a dignified life, according to their needs and possibilities, self-determining.
We look to the future with sunshine, joy and a positive attitude
It is worth adding that the project involved both the authorities of Bytom and municipal units, including: Rozbark Theater, the Municipal Family Support Center or the Poviat Labor Office. As part of the collaboration, including in the Danstheater, the project’s students took part in integration dance classes, while the Dzwoni Center supported participation in training and internships and the PUP and MOPR supported the program’s students with content.
Over the course of several months, the project organizers have noticed many examples of changes in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, and the circles of support that have been created around them.
What are support circles?
- This is an opportunity for families considering securing their child’s future so that they stay in the local community and not end up in a nursing home;
- It is an opportunity for a person with NI to stay in their local community among friendly, helpful people;
- This is an opportunity to calmly, under the supervision of specialists, prepare and plan housing and financial security for a person with NI;
- It is an opportunity for families and people with intellectual disabilities to participate in the process of opening up the local environment to people with intellectual disabilities and their needs.
The project is funded by the Active Citizens Fund – National Program funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the EEA grants. The project is one of 11 programs implemented in Poland from the funds of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (the so-called Norwegian Funds and EEA Funds) 2014-2021 and one of two intended to the activities of civil society organisations. The aim of the Fund is to strengthen civil society, active citizenship and empower groups at risk of exclusion.