Self-Directed Support has been developing as a global movement for over 50 years. Its positive impact on people’s lives has been considerable, but resistance to change is also considerable, and developments are often patchy and partial. In addition, most progress has been in the fields of health and disability supports, but there is powerful evidence that the principles and practice of self-directed support can usefully be applied in many other aspects of life and society.
Until now there has been no organization to advance worldwide learning or to connect initiatives between every country and region. The SDS Network now brings together leaders and advocates from around the world. It builds on the European Skills project which began in 2017, and the UNIC Project which established European guidance on personal budgets in 2019. Coordinated by EASPD the UNIC project received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020). www.unicproject.eu. Global conferences on self-direction — Vancouver 2015, Boston 2019, and Christchurch 2022 — have resulted in Global Standards for Self-Directed Support which have been published by the SDS Network.
To increase the growth and positive impact of self-direction, it is essential to draw on the collective wisdom and experience of people with lived experience and other experts and leaders. Networking can increase innovation, raise expectations, track progress, and share good practices.The SDS Network has been established to carry forward this work and advance self-direction as a fundamental human right and default approach for those people who need and want it.
The participants in the SDS Network are leaders in their jurisdictions with many demands on their time. To make progress, the SDS Network needs funding to appoint a network coordinator who can drive forward the global work of the SDS Network by facilitating meetings and events, establishing and managing an online presence for the group, and supporting the creation of resources.
The SDS Network is hosted by Citizen Network, which is a global community of people, groups, and organizations working to advance human rights. Additional support is provided by Self Directed Futures (England), and Manawanui Support Ltd (New Zealand). KVPS (Finland) provides expertise and a digital Howspace platform for the SDS-network.
Citizen Network is now looking for further investment to sponsor the coordination of the SDS Network and to build on the momentum achieved so far.
If you are interested in supporting this work, please contact Markus Vahala, CEO of Citizen Network, at firstname.lastname@example.org.