2023 Round-Up:

My Life My Choice celebrates another successful year!

2023 was a great year for My Life My Choice and our members. Here are the highlights!

Gig Buddy Project Funding!

We started off the year with the exciting news that the National Lottery Community Fund were giving us £396,848 to fund the Gig Buddy project for a further 5 years!

Councillor Liz Leffman and Councillor Mark Lygo joined us to celebrate the news. As a result of the funding, we have hired Eleni, our Gig Buddy Assistant, to help us run more events around Oxfordshire. We are now seeing more members come to events than ever before!

Charity Film Award Winners!

In March MLMC was awarded a Charity Film Award for our Travel Buddy film!

The film, featuring MLMC members Charlene, Pam, Dean and Luke, highlights the transformative benefits of the Travel Buddy project.

Charlene and Luke attended a glamorous ceremony held at the Odeon in Leciester Square. The event was hosted by comedian Tom Allen and attended by celebrites such as Strictly Come Dancing’s Arlene Phillips and AJ Pritchard!

MLMC research went international!

Consultants Pam and Dawn travelled to Iceland to attend the Nordic Network on Disability Research Conference in May. They presented on the Growing Older and Planning Ahead project, on which they were co-researchers.

The project aimed to improve support for older people with learning disabilities and family carers by producing resources and recommendations to help people think about the future.

Charity Award Winners!

In June , MLMC’s Computer Buddy project won a Charity Award in the Disability category at a ceremony held by the Civil Society.

The Computer Buddy project supports members to learn digital skills by providing free devices and one-to-one support. Judge Chris Sherwood said MLMC demonstrated a deep and genuine commitment to being user-led. Judge Sarah Ellis added that it was a “really practical and supportive digital inclusion project, straightforward in its purpose and outcomes, which could be rolled out further in the future”.

My Life My Choice turned 25!

Over 120 members and supporters, along with present and former staff, came together for a memorable evening at the Story Museum to celebrate 25 years of MLMC. We premiered the new MLMC film and spent the evening dancing away to a live band!

Co-Chairs of the Trustees Ady and Ben gave a speech thanking members for their support and hard work over the past 25 years. We also heard from the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Liz Leffman, who spoke of her admiration of MLMC and the collaborative, life-changing work we do together.

Gig Buddies attended their first big festival!

A team of MLMC Gig Buddies attended Truck, a music festival with over 30,000+ attendees! The team assisted the Access team, which included working on the viewing platform, helping to put up tents and supporting in the sensory space. The Access team said they couldn’t have done it without us!

Ady, who was attending a large festival for the first time, said “I’m really proud of everyone and myself for what we have achieved”. Ant added “everything was amazing”, “I was even able to come out my comfort zone.”

Travel Buddy project funded for another 3 years!

We were really excited to recieve £245,908 from The Motability Foundation to fund our Travel Buddy Project for a further three years.

With this funding we have been able to expand the Travel Buddy team and hire Eliott, our Travel Buddy Assistant! We have already started to see an increase in those recieving travel training and learning how to get to places independently!

We Can’t Wait film wins International Film Award!

MLMC’s film We Can’t Wait won at the Big Syn International Film Awards in November! Champion campaigners Jackie, Anup and Paul attended the ceremony held in Mayfair, London, along with Grace and Chris from Bounce Film, who helped to produce the film.

The We Can’t Wait film sheds a light on the campaign, which strives to address longstanding health inequalities by prioritising people with a learning disability on NHS waiting lists.

Don’t Lock Us Away featured in The Times!

Co-Chair of the Trustees Ben McCay wrote a piece for The Times newspaper highlighting that people with learning disabilities are being kept in secure units unnessaceraily. MLMC’s Don’t Lock Us Away campaign aims to address this, focusing on advocating for the provision of alternative high quality community care for those locked away in secure hospitals.

Champions have also worked with Inclusion London to set up a national self advocacy network to work together on promoting the campaign.

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