AGM 2017 Annual Report Download

On Saturday November 11th we held our Annual General Meeting for 2017.  It was an eventful AGM with plenty of people from our member groups contributing towards an open forum of discussion.

I have made the AGM powerpoint available in several different formats:

The first format, available here, is a download of every slide, along with video integrated into some slides. These videos play directly off Youtube, and have been subtitled- you may need to press the “cc” icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video to access subtitles.


For those who do not wish to download the document, you can find a non-video version here, along with videos separately below. Each image has been described underneath, and all text written out for those using screen readers:



Equal Lives front page

Slide 1: Equal Lives logo- Free from Disabling Barriers. On left is a photo of two staff members smiling at the Healthwatch AGM. Text reads: “Equal Lives is an organisation of disabled people, run by disabled people. We believe in rights, not charity.”

agm slide 2- money statistics

Slide 2: Removing barriers to training and Development. The slideshow vital statistics on employment. There are 13.3 million disabled people in the UK and 3.4 million are in employment. Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed. So why is disabled employment rate so important to the economy? Well, a 10% rise in the employment rate of disabled people would contribute an extra £12 billion to the exchequer by 2030. We also know that 30% of disabled people live in poverty, compared to 18% of non-disabled people.

slide 3- how equal lives leads the way

Slide 3: How do we lead the way? We provide training for individuals and other organisations, such as The Recovery College. The Recovery College provides training and support for anyone with disabilities wanting to work. It builds up confidence. The course covers Introduction to Benefits, Introduction to Employability and 3 sessions on employability skills. This slide features a pie chart to the right-hand side, showing that 61% of Equal Lives staff consider themselves disabled.

slide 4- vital statistics on our ILS service

Slide 4: This slide shows some vital statistics on our Independent Living Service. 2427 people used our accounts to hold their direct payment. Over 150 people purchased a one-off HR support package. We provided HR support to over 964 people, and employment support and advice to over 250 families. We provided a payroll service to over 2000 individual employers.

slide 5- quotes from our ILS service users

Slide 5: This slide talks more about the Independent Living Service.  A happy elderly lady is featured on the right-hand side of this slide. There are two quotes from ILS users.

Quote one says: “In the three years we have been using your service it has been nothing but a positive experience. We have built up a good relationship with my wife’s personal assistant and my wide if very happy as it has giver her independence again. It has given my wife more options which she wouldn’t have had if we had chosen an agency.”

Quote 2 says: ” We have been so impressed with the service that we have recommended you to others too who were also worried about using agencies and having different agency staff coming into their home.”

slide 6- more on independent living services

Slide 6: More information on the Independent Living Service. A happy elderly lady is on the left-hand page, with information about Your Care, Your Way.

Text reads: What is your care, your way? Your care, your way is a service that has been designed to support you to identify the care and support you may need to live independently and to provide you with the advice and support you need to employ someone to work for you. Equal Lives has been successfully supporting people to become employers for over 20 years and our services are led by you because you are the expert on your life.

slide 7- our IAA service

Slide 7: Title reads “Maintaining our independence”. There is an image of a hand filling in forms on the right-hand side of this slide, along with text about our Information, Advice and Advocacy service.

Text reads: One of the things we promote with all our Information, Advice and Advocacy services is the idea of self-advocacy. This means we work hard to encourage people to have the right information in order to stand up for themselves- this could be with any number of issues including appealing for benefits or making a complaint to the NHS. We want people to maintain their independence and feel empowered.

slide 8- vital statistics on our IAA service

Slide 8: This slide talks more about the statistics of our IAA service. The is a graph which shows that a vast majority of the inquiries we had through the IAA service were about Welfare. 93.4% of our users were very satisfied with the service provided by our IAA staff. Or Appropriate adults have helped 1388 adults and 1099 juveniles. The IAA service helps with a whole range of issues such as benefits, mental health, social care.

slide 9- features quotes from our IAA service users

Slide 9: This slide features an array of quotes from our IAA service users. The information, Advice and Advocacy Service always strives for excellence. Here are just some of the wonderful comment out IAA users have said about our services this year:

Quote 1 says: “Dealing with chronic ill health is hard and the stress of dealing with the DWP makes things worse. Many thanks to all at Equal Lives.”

Quote 2 says: “I felt like the system was set up to confuse and trick people into making silly mistakes when filling out forms. Equal Lives have helped take the headache out of the more tricky questions. Thank You.”

Quote 3 says: ” The help I received I was very happy with, and I would use your service again if it was available in the future.”

Quote 4 says: “I feel everything was done to help me get the correct legal outcome of my situation, thank you.”

Quote 5 says: ” The most valuable input was encouraging me to believe I had a right to pursue the Mental Healthcare I needed, instead of feeling that I must be an inconvenience.”

slide 10- journey to independence, rens story

Slide 10- This slide takes a look at Ren’s Journey to independence. The image on this slide features her standing in a field. The text on this slide reads:

One of the people we helped set up a group this year was Ren, who now runs Back on The Radar- a group for young people to support each other with mental health illness. Ren set up the group after going through her own experience of Agoraphobia (fear of open of public spaces.

After getting in touch with a social worker at Mind, Ren got in contact with Equal Lives in order to set up and run her own group. The group is now set up and running successfully in Norwich.

A quote from Ren says: “The idea of being able to create a safe space for us to chat or even meet could be the very thing needed to help those suffering to want to make a change.”

slide 11- all members groups

Slide 11 lists every single one of our member groups in one big list. We now have over 50 member groups.

slide 12- about the UNCRPD

Slide 12 moves on to talk about the UN CRPD. There is a poster on the left which highlights The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, mixed in with images or disabled people, a guide dog, and a smiling child. The text on the poster reads:

Article 16: “Freedom from exploitation, violence, and abuse.”

Article 19: “Living Independently and being included in the community”

Article 21: “Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information.”

Article 27: “Work and Employment”

Article 28: “Adequate standard of living and social protection.”

Article 30: “Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.”

The tagline of the poster says “Nothing about us, without us.”

On the right is the text about how Equal Lives is getting involved. It says: “We have fought even harder for our rights this year holding the government accountable at the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disability in Geneva. We also campaigned against PIP and WCA assessments at St Mary’s House.”

slide 13 campaigning at UN CRPD

Slide 13 features a photo of Equal Lives CEO, Mark Harrison, standing outside the UN CRPD building with members of Inclusion London- Tara, Tracey, and Anita. The title about reads “Achieving our rights”.

slide 14- st mary's house

Slide 14 talks more about campaigning. There are two images side by side. One is posters for the March for Mental Health Campaign. On the right is an image of two people holding a banner which is campaigning to save mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Text on the slide reads: “All of the rights which we have won over the last 30 years, came out of a struggle of disabled people changing the world. It didn’t come out of any charity.”

slide 15- rights not charity

Slide 15: Title reads “Rights Not Charity” and features a picture of Winnie, a guide dog, reclining on a wooden floor. There is a quote on the slide which reads “Equal Lives is an Organisation of Disabled People, Run for Disabled People. We believe in rights, not charity.”

slide 16- board of trustees

Slide 16: This slide features our board of Trustees:

Joh Moore- Chair

Kate Wyatt- Vice Chair

Shaun McGarry- Treasurer

Catherine Meijer- Trustee

Rick Corron – Trustee

Penny Holden – Trustee

Tom Shakespere- Trustee

Dan Barratt- Trustee

Martin Symonds- Trustee

Tom Fadden- Trustee

Kevin James- Trustee

Martin Flemming- Trustee

It also features Bill Albert, who is  President for Life.

Text on the right-hand side reads: It is important for us not to base Equal Lives on the charity model of disability. The charity model of disability sees disabled people as victims of their impairment. This is why Equal Lives is run by disabled people, for disabled people.

slide 7- maintaining independence and tackling dependency

Slide 17: This slide is titled “Maintaining Independence and Tackling Dependency.” On the right-hand side of the slide is an image in soft focus, of hands holding a wooden walking stick. The third hand from someone else is laid over the main person’s hands.

Text reads: “At Equal Lives, we believe in professionals being on tap, not on top. Any professionals should be there when you need them, to ensure your independence and allow you to live life on your own terms.”

slide 18- more on independence

Slide 18: This slide talks more about independence. It features a picture of Penny, our Membership Officer, standing next to a gentleman at Sing Your Heart Out.

Text on the slide reads: “Member Groups play an important part in creating independence. Penny has been out to visit the Disabled People’s Racing Club, Sing Your Heart Out and Mind The Gap this year. The groups allow disabled people to go out and do things that interest them as well as feel supported by their peers.”

slide 19- peer support groups

Slide 19: This slide is titled “Supporting each other through peer support.” On the right-hand side, there is an image in soft focus of people around a table writing.

The text reads: “Peer support is and equal relationship between individuals or groups of people who get together to give and receive information, advice, and support. It’s a chance for people to share their experiences, learn new things they would not have known otherwise, and support each other around a particular issue.”

slide 20- more on peer support

Slide 20 continues on from Peer support. It features a photo of one of our peer support users drawing.

The text on this slide reads: “This year, as part of one for our contracts, we have been developing a one to one peer support programme for people using or thinking of using, personal budgets or direct payments. This has involved linking with other organisations who already offer one to one support, (including NSFT and the Wellbeing Service), and sharing learning. We developed our training which is trainee led, informative, practical, engaging, inclusive and fun. 5 volunteers completed this in March.”

slide 21- peer support quote

Slide 21 features an image of Peer Supporter, Martin and his PA. There is a quote on the left-hand side which says “It is a vital service for those with disabilities and their carers.”

slide 22- helping people understand disability

Slide 22 is titled “Why is it important to help people understand disability?”

The body of the text says that there is still a stigma regarding disability in the UK. A pie chart shows that 75% of British People admit to avoiding conversations with disabled people. Fear of causing offense, feeling uncomfortable and not knowing what to talk about were the most common reasons according to Sense Survey 2017.

On the right-hand column, it reads: “Equal lives remains dedicated to helping others understand disability. We do this in a variety of ways:

  1. Having the Social Model of Disability as one of our core values
  2. Community Projects which help increase awareness
  3.  Using our social media platforms to dispel stigma about disability
  4.  Our staff acting as positive peer advocates
  5.  Providing Disability Equality Training.

slide 23- disability equality training

Slide 23 looks at what is included in Disability Equality Training:

  1. Language used to describe Disability
  2. Intersectionality and Definitions
  3. Models of Disability
  4. Differences Between Disability and Impairment
  5. Hierarchy
  6. Information on Disabled People’s Organisations

slide 24- models of disability

Slide 24 shows the differences between the social model of disability and the medical model of disability.

The Social model states that society is the problem as it creates disabling barriers. A man says “Everyone is Equal. Society needs to adapt.”

The Medical Model states that disabled people are a problem that needs fixing or making better. A man says “You are disabled so are not fully able to participate until you are well.”

At the bottom of the slide, it reminds people of the charity model of disability. It reads “We also do not adhere to the charity model of disability as this model makes non-disabled people feel they have to give money to disabled people. It paints disabled people as helpless.”

slide 25- pan disability

Slide 25 is titled “Pan-disability and Inclusivity.” The image on this slide shows the symbols for many disabilities on plinths- none are higher or lower than each other, they are all equal.

The text on this slide reads: “Our Employees, Volunteers, and Member groups cover a wide variety of disability and impairment. As an organisation, Equal Lives values all people equally and does not put one group over anyone else. We take all disabilities and impairments into consideration- whether these are physical, mental, fluctuating, learning disabilities, sensory or progressive diseases. We encourage open conversation about all disabilities and impairments.”

slide 26- kimberly and mental health

Slide 26- looking further into Pan Disability and Inclusivity there is a case study into Kimberly Myhill. On the right is an image of her smiling, below that, an image of her on Mustard TV talking about mental health. A quote from Kimberly says “You Have to be prepared, to be honest, to get the best results for yourself. Learn to trust your instincts.”

On the left is a description of Kimberly’s story, the text reads: “In April, Kimberly shared her story on her own mental health journey with the EDP as part of the mental health takeover campaign. She was also invited to Mustard TV where she promoted the idea that talking about mental health illness should be something normal to talk about and not have to come from a place of bravery.

slide 27- accounts

The final slide of the powerpoint shows the equal lives accounts running from 2016 to 2017. The slide reads:


Equal Lives Financial Overview- End March 2017.

Total income for 2016/2017 is £2,066,311. Total Expenses for 2016/2017 is £2,219,330. This is a surplus of minus £153,019.

Movement in funds was as follows: The reserves on 31st March 2016 were at £411,024. Reserves at 31st March 2017 are £258,005.


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