Why the 'I' statements make it real.

Big things often have little beginnings and that is certainly the case for Making it Real. The idea for Making it Real was quite simple; it was designed so that people could have more choice and control to live full and independent lives.

When The National Coproduction Advisory Group (made up of people who use services and carers) was asked to write a set of 'I' statements for Making it Real, we had no idea it would become the enormous force that it is today. The 'I' statements reflect what good looks like from our point of view and what we should expect from the services we receive; and they are at the heart of the programme.

The Making it Real programme helps services to check their progress towards personalisation and ensures that the people who use their services are kept at the centre of everything. Organisations make a voluntary commitment to use Making it Real, and publicly share their actions via the Making it Real section of the TLAP website. Importantly the action plans must be coproduced with people who use their services.

Currently 854 organisations and councils have signed up to Making it Real. That's a lot! The launch publication from three years ago went on to inspire many more including Making it Real for people with dementia, Making it Real for Carers, Making it Real for Young Carers, Making it Real for People with Mental Health Conditions - No Assumptions Narrative document, and Making it Real for Young People with Complex Lives -My Life, my support, my choice.

For me Making it Real means independence for my mother and my son. I care for my son twenty four seven. He js twenty-three years old and has autism and a learning disability for which he attends a specialist college. His absolute passion in life is for World War II re-enactments. With his meticulous attention to detail he really benefits the community who have embraced him for who he is, and gradually he has made friends -not paid ones, but proper friends who offer informal support when and if he needs it.

My mum is at the grand old age of eighty three and has severe mobility problems and dementia. She was in a care home for about a year where it was clear that she was unhappy and so with a lot of hard work we managed to get her a joint health and social care budget and bought her home. She has carers who come in and work for her, she's the boss and she's absolutely delighted with this arrangement.

I feel it's really important to get the message out that having choice and control in your life is paramount. When you have choice and control over who comes to visit you and who supports you it empowers you and makes the world of difference for everyone involved.

"Long live Making it Real. Happy Third Birthday!"


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