Over more than the last decade Bob’s been working with families, NGO’s and government agencies in Greece with a view to developing sustainable personalised and community based support arrangements for and with people with intellectual disabilities and their families. One of these – Petagma, an inspirational family led organisation that provides supported living, innovative short breaks, and extensive peer support and stimulus – celebrated its 10th anniversary with a very successful conference at the national parliament on October 18th. Bob and his guest, Luke Conlon (Director of Community Choice and Inclusion) gave the keynote seminar and workshop on the theme of “sustaining a high quality approach – making your institution a catalyst for care”.
Apart from addressing conferences in Attica and Epiros, visits were made to a a range of settings and services and workshops and discussions progressed with families, people who are supported, and managers and staff. Luke, who was visiting Greek services for the first time, observed that the quality of support and inclusive/stimulating lifestyles so obviously enjoyed by folk supported by Petagma, despite the absence of anything that we would recognise as a welfare state and the parlous state of public and familial finances, was far superior to that achieved in the majority of UK circumstances. And it was evident that this was down to the dynamic and resilient nature of the family leadership in Petagma and their commitment to the values and principles that the organisation had been supported to make explicit. We resolved that there’s lots we must learn from Petagma and we are keen to bring them to the UK to share their learning and stories with family leaders and policy makers here. If you would like to host/organise an event within a visit programme we’d be pleased to hear from you?