Inclusive cities – a new era of action for inclusion

30 May 2018.

This Friday (1 June) our Grapevine CEO Clare Wightman takes to the stage again to talk about Grapevine’s ongoing work across Coventry and Warwickshire – this time at the Inclusion International World Congress in Birmingham.

Clare Wightman

This 17th World Congress takes place over three days (30 May – 1 June), bringing together people and organisations from all over the world to influence how inclusion can become a reality for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

The event, held at the International Convention Centre, will be a forum for self-advocates, families and professionals to learn from and inspire one another to achieve this mutual aim.

Clare’s topic on the event’s final day ‘Inclusive cities’, examines how people, families and organisations can form civic partnerships – working with political and professional leaders to make our cities better for everyone.

Here is an excerpt of the paper Clare will present for the first time at this event, co-written with Lucie Stephens and David Towell.

The ‘Cities for all’ research paper* includes an interesting and accurate reflection of part of Grapevine’s current work with learning disabled people. It was originally founded in 1994 as a project to offer a drop-in centre for people with intellectual disabilities.

If you would like to know more, read on!

Cities for all: Disabled people as partners in making our towns and cities better for everyone

“Put at its simplest, Grapevine is a team, at the heart of local communities, working to change things so that those at most risk of exclusion can help make their community a better, fairer and more welcoming place for everyone.”

“…Today we work with many others facing disadvantage: young people, migrants, families in crisis and many groups of disabled people and their families.

“…If people can get the resources they need and can make the best use of public services, then they can shape their own lives. At different stages of finding their own paths to community, people may need different kinds of support, all of which we try to make available. We characterise the main kinds of support as:

  • Partnership – Some people need someone along with them on the journey, at least for a while, to keep them strong and hopeful.
  • Preparation – Some people need help to prepare for personal change and transition, to get inspiration, support to plan or practical assistance.
  • Self-direction – Some people just need to access information and networks to find the right resources for themselves and their families.

“…Over [this] 20 years at Grapevine, citizen advocacy has become community advocacy. This is not just because the community is itself critical to every person’s ability to lead a valued life. It is also because the community needs these different voices and experiences in order to become fully itself.

“The goal is not just that the individual becomes part of the community; the goal is that the community becomes more truly what it should be, a place that welcomes, supports, and is in turn nourished by, all of its members.”

*Click here to read the full paper in the Centre for Welfare Reform’s library.

For more information about the Inclusion International World Congress click here.


TeenVine Plus Family Get Together

In no particular order: Soup, dreams, families and a working microphone – Key ingredients for a successful get together.

Last night at Backhaus & Co there was a gathering of families brought together by our TeenVine Plus team.

We challenged them to think about the moral of the story told by Coleman.

Coleman telling his story

This set the scene for us to think about dreaming big for the lives of the TeenVine Plus young people.

One of the young people, Jacob, who is also one of our Coventry Youth Activis

ts, shared that his dream was to see and feel fairness. We couldn’t agree more!

If you would like to find out more about our TeenVine Plus Project follow along on FaceBook or Twitter



Dad’s movement

Tim Jacques wants to start a conversation about how we work with dads.

‘The first time we met, Neal was leaning on the gate to our allotment project with a mate. He stank of weed and, hands down trousers, weighed me up through half open eyes.

My choice was clear: faced with a man like Neal – the depth of the chaos, the ‘hardness’ – do I try to go deep or do I stay on the surface? Am I ready for how much he will share and how much he will need from me?

I chose to become a constant in Neal’s life, a safe place where he was free from judgment.

He showed me a life with very little room for love or compassion. I saw not an angry and intimidating man but a scared little boy who had been through the care system himself, whose own feelings and experiences were controlling how he was now.

As the allotment project and our relationship unfolded a core group of men emerged that formed the Goodfather, an action group coming together to raise funds and plan camping trips for other dads on the estate.

I began to see facets of his character that he kept hidden. His capacity for mental arithmetic was staggering. He could plan and organise the logistics of taking seventy dads and children camping for the weekend with ease.

Resolving issues with dads like Neal can feel like untangling a kite string. You manage to untie a really big knot then something happens and it’s just as knotted as it was before. At the time it’s daunting, intimidating, seemingly chaotic.

Fathers like Neal experienced deep trauma in their childhoods and then go on to raise their own children often repeating the same mistakes. It’s a cycle that’s difficult to break and all too often services focus on the symptoms – the dirty house, chaotic life styles, the substance misuse.

We need to design new ways to be with dads and to help them. I want to discover what it would take for us to work alongside them consistently for much longer periods of time, building relationships that are based on honesty, trust and openness where Dads feel safe enough to ask for the help they really need.

Together we can break these cycles.’

You can join Tim by emailing or 07834 547571.

Connecting Parents At The Bingo

Connecting Parents
The Connecting Parents Group Have Bingo-ing Mad!

Andrea and Claire have shared their near win story and their fab photos from yesterday’s Connecting Parents meet up. Organised by one of the parents they got their heads down, just missing out on claiming the full house prize with unlucky number 39! They enjoyed it so much they will be making this a regular event. Key an eye out on their Face Book page for details

Rights In Public Law Education

Assessment and support procedures for disabled adults, including those  transitioning into adulthood: Friday 22nd September at Grapevine

The latest session run by Central England Law Centre Rights In Public Law Education project is on Friday 22nd September. RIPLE helps groups of people who need health and/or social care services know their rights.

Kyla from Grapevine is helping their solicitor Emma to run group sessions for people with learning disabilities and their families. So far they have focused on rights of those aged 14 and over to Annual Health Checks. The call to action from this session was to make contact with your GP to check if they are signed up to deliver Learning Disability Health checks and to confirm that their family member/person they care for is on the Learning Disability register.

If you would like to come along to the next one on Friday 22nd September, or if you need any more details please get in touch with Kyla on 02476631040 02476 253179

Independent Support for ‘SEN’ families

Do you have a child with SEN? Have you heard of Education, Health and Care Plans?

We can help you make sense of the Education, Health and Care Plans either for your review or transfer from Statement. Our service is free for families.

Contact our Independent Support Programme Manager Naomi Baker to find out how we can help you on 024 76 631040 ext 111 or email

The Gruffalo and other stories

Welcome to Sally –  our resident teacher who is going to be sharing fun ideas of how to support your child’s reading skills.

Sally is happy to answer questions and give hints and tips on how to help your child learn. So let’s start her off – what is your child’s favourite story? The Gruffalo is one of mine! Come and join us over at Andrea and Claire Connecting Parents.