We have only just started on this journey with Expert Link and I have only spoken to a few groups and people, yet already there are significant findings. Trendy and Tokenism are two words that seem to be coming to the fore.
It appears, from the conversations that I have had, that it is “trendy” for providers to speak to those that use their services, their customers. Well I don’t know about any other person who has been vulnerable and had to ask for, and accept help, but I never thought myself as being trendy or in vogue to speak to. David Beckham is trendy and bling watches are vogue along with beards, but vulnerable adults and those with experience of being vulnerable….. This is a real concern because “trends” come and go, they get left on the shelf or stuffed into the bottom of a cupboard somewhere forgotten and lost until years later they get found, reminisced over and then put in the bin, heading for landfill.
Our old enemy “tokenism” is still around, deceiving those new to the scene into believing that they are really being listened to and that their input really will make a difference. These poor souls are built up into believing that all and everything is possible, that their word will change the world for the good. And for those who are a bit longer in the tooth “tokenism” causes apathy, akin to the apathy around politics today, because they’ve seen and heard it all before, the failed promises of hope.
What’s really worrying is that these two, “Trendy and Tokenism” seem to be getting together and ganging up on those most at need, those who most need some hope, those who most need positive change. While providers, Authorities and Government think that it is Trendy to engage with their customers so that they can tick a box and discuss it over dinner with friends after the “mortgage and kids” conversation or have one-upmanship over their competitors, and while that engagement is “tokenistic”, it us who will suffer and it is those that unfortunately who will follow in our footsteps who will feel the real pain delivered by “Trendy and Tokenism”.
It seems to me that the best way we can beat them is to stand up for ourselves, we have all done it before as individuals and we can do it now as a group. It is when we make sure that we are heard and we are taken seriously that we can truly beat our enemies, Trendy and Tokenism.