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Celebrating the Power of Community: WECIL Wins Locality Award

WECIL team smiling with Locality award

We are delighted to share the fantastic news that WECIL has won Locality’s Power of the Community Award!

The annual Locality Awards ‘23 Ceremony took place at the Bristol Marriot Royal Hotel on 7th November, celebrating the impact and innovation shown by local community organisations and charities across the country.

Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Locality said: “Up and down the country, community organisations are doing incredible things. Their leadership, and dynamism in the face of unprecedented challenges is an inspiration to us all. Each year the Locality Awards shine a spotlight on these organisations, giving them the national recognition they deserve – and bringing their ideas from the margins to the mainstream. Now is the time to give them the power to make meaningful, enduring change – now is the time to kickstart a community power revolution.”

The Power of the Community Award, which WECIL won, celebrates working with local people to shape their own future and to build a fairer society where everyone in the community thrives. It’s an honour to be recognised among a network of amazing and impactful community organisations creating a better society.

Dominic Ellison accepts Locality award

Dominic Ellison, Chief Executive of WECIL, said: “This means a lot. Disabled voices need to be raised in every sector – including our own. Our voices aren’t loud enough or represented enough – so to be recognised by our wider community is brilliant.”

The Power of Community Award recognised WECIL’s achievements across three measures:

1.  How community is at the heart of all decision making at WECIL

As a Disabled People’s Organisation, WECIL is founded on the principles of independence, inclusive involvement, and peer support. With a Board comprised of at least 75% Disabled people, elected by a membership which are 100% Disabled people, a majority of our workforce bringing their lived experience of Disability to their advice and guidance and co-production of our services, we embody the very essence of inclusivity.

2.  Community Involvement in Project Delivery:

Our Peer Advocacy projects, such as ‘Know Your Rights’ and the ‘Listening Partnership,’ are brilliant examples of co-production and community leadership. These groups not only guide our overall strategy but actively participate in co-designing services. Councils and Health Authorities regularly seek their insights to influence service provision.

Traditionally, we referred Disabled people to specific services, making decisions about the type of support before even understanding their personal challenges. However, our community-driven initiative, the Navigators service, has revolutionised this approach. Co-designed by our community, it fosters open-ended conversations with experienced teams to explore challenges, identify priorities, and develop tailored action plans, connecting individuals to appropriate services, whether provided by WECIL or other providers.

3.  Impactful Outcomes in the Community:

The impact of our projects on the community is the true measure of our success. During the challenging times brought about by the pandemic, we partnered with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors to produce a comprehensive, EasyRead document explaining the legal impact of the Coronavirus Act on Disabled people’s rights and distributed it nationally.

Our community’s challenge of Bristol Council’s Care Act Easements led to the formation of the Adult Social Care Equalities Forum, an ongoing platform that brings together equalities-led community organisations and Council leadership to scrutinise and co-produce new policies. Collaborating with Disabled People’s Organisations nationally, we successfully overturned these easements in law, restoring Disabled people’s rights.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our incredible community for their continuous support and collaboration. This award is a celebration of each member who has played a role in shaping our journey. Together, we truly embody the Power of Community.

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