Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart, joined us in North Kessock to hear about the development of a Self-Directed Support (SDS) Strategy for Highland.  

This strategy is being developed as part of a collaboration between Carr Gomm’s Community Contacts service, NHS Highland, the Highland SDS Peer Support Group, Self-Directed Support Scotland and other partners.  

As well as hearing about the key objectives of the strategy, Mr Stewart was introduced to the innovative work carried out so far in delivering SDS. 

This included NHS Highland’s life-changing direct payment scheme for carers, whereby carers can apply for a payment to enable them to take a short-break, quickly and with the support of their social worker, link worker or Community Contacts Specialist Project Worker.  

 Peer Support Group and SDS strategy partners with MSP Kevin Stewart

During the visit, Mr Stewart expressed his desire to see the needs and choices of people supported reflected in ongoing developments to SDS and the National Care Service.  

“If we just listened to civil servants, we wouldn’t be getting Self-Directed Support right. We need to listen to the voice of lived experience”, said Mr Stewart.  

Mr Stewart took time to answer questions and to hear stories from members of the SDS Peer Support Group, which was greatly appreciated. 

Anne, a Peer Support Group member, who shared her experience believed the visit will contribute to improvements to SDS. 

Kevin was glad to listen to my story, which I hope will benefit others and drive this whole initiative forward”, said Anne.  

The members also reflected on how Carr Gomm’s partnership working around SDS has helped shape SDS policy both in Highland and nationally.  

Carr Gomm continues to work in collaboration to influence and improve SDS provision, delivering more choice and independence for people and communities across Scotland.  

Find out more about how SDS works in our 7-step guide.