Travelling down to Nottingham, to facilitate a Roundtable discussion about commissioning in light of the Care Act 2014, has given me the opportunity to reflect on my first few weeks at ARC.

Reading through the relevant chapter of the Care Act Guidance document, I am aware that this will be high on our delegates’ agendas and it’s going to be an interesting evening.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks. Having spent much of my career managing membership, supporting service users, and deconstructing complex policy, my new role is giving me the opportunity to do all of this in a solely learning disability context. And I have to say, I am really struck by how unique this experience has been. Everyone I speak to cares about the same things, wants the same things, and wants to help others to achieve them too. It feels like a passionate, energised and genuinely caring environment.

That’s not to say it’s always an easy one to work in! There’s a lot going on at the moment – much of which I have learned more about through my research for this newsletter, which has been invaluable to me. I’m looking forward to learning more! And I’d certainly welcome any comments and ideas from you about what you’d like to see in our Real People newsletter, what training and events you’d most benefit from, and indeed anything else. Afterall, everything we do here at ARC is meant for you – the people who are out there doing the work on the ground. I want to support you to deliver that work to the best of my ability.

We believe that we can offer you the opportunity to be part of a focused movement of health and social care organisations – all working towards the same goal – to support people with learning disabilities to lead richer and fuller lives, as well as offering you the practical help and support you may need to realise this goal. For you, this might be by taking advantage of our Disclosure and Barring Service, accessing our training and qualifications, or by joining our new representatives network and having the chance to influence and use your voice on behalf of the sector.

We’re also planning to roll out employment law updates in various regions over the next few months, as well as a series of events raising awareness about the landing of the Care Act, and I look forward to meeting more of you there. In the meantime, you can check out our other upcoming training and events on our website at


Esther Oddy
Membership and Communications Officer
Association for Real Change
01246 541 677