Before joining the Digital Civics research initiative at Open Lab, I worked in a range of settings across social work and adult social care. Working alongside carers, older adults, disabled people and people living with dementia shaped my research interests. Valuing relational models of social care, aligned with a parallel interest in inclusive, inter-generational activities and participation, I recognise the potential of citizens to enrich formal and informal care networks in creative ways.
A core focus is considering how digital technologies can complement existing support provision or contribute to developing innovative citizen-led approaches to address social care issues. Exploring how people who self-direct support can harness their skills, exchange knowledge and share resources to improve access and participation in community life, experience has shown it is not always necessary to ‘reinvent the wheel’. Underpinned by a focus on strengths, I hold the perspective that people who use support services, their carers and those who receive personalised funding to organise care, can share pivotal knowledge about what matters most to them in daily life. Devising flexible, adaptive responses to social care priorities while creating space for citizens to influence support arrangements and connect with peers is vital at a time when formal capacity and resources supporting people in their communities are under pressure.