Living with chronic illness can be hard.
And not just because of our symptoms.
The ways that the worlds of work and social life are built make it hard for us to take part in the ways we might want to. Our lives can become very narrow, and we can end up feeling isolated and alone. Even with so much moving online during the COVID pandemic, we still have limitations on our energy and focus which can make it hard to fully participate, even without the drain of travel.
For most of us, the less we have the kind of social contact we want to have, and the less we feel we're contributing in some way, the more stress, anxiety and depression we experience. And the more stress, anxiety and depression we experience, the worse our symptoms are, making it even harder to take action.
And this doesn't just have costs for us. It also has costs for our loved ones and carers, and even more so for society, in the loss of our energy, our ideas, and our contribution.
Current services and ‘solutions’ often do not address our real needs. When we try to articulate our experiences, our understanding of our conditions, and our needs - whether in a medical setting, or when seeking accommodations to make it possible for us to participate in work or social life - we are often dismissed, and worse, by those whose job it is supposed to be to help us.
How can we make the path to a more fulfilling life?
There are many groups and charities out there doing great work supporting people living with chronic illnesses, through peer support groups, and research into possible causes and treatments. But what we at We Make The Path feel is missing from the landscape is the combination of action and reflection in the lives of chronically ill people ourselves.
We provide opportunities for chronically ill people to take the action they want to take, in a way that is sustainable for them, building confidence, skills, capacity and community along the way, through reflection on what worked, and what didn't.
As well as individual benefits to mental, emotional, physical and social health, our goal is to see a ripple effect of improvement in the health of our participants' families, communities, and society at large.
Our work and approach
Our core services and programmes support chronically ill people to identify personal goals, and to take small, sustainable actions towards them, with one to one support and accountability. We also bring our individual clients together into cohorts, each of which identifies collective goals and take collective action.
Our approach is holistic, liberatory, and person-centred, encouraging people, individually and collectively, to generate practices for themselves which are nourishing and replenishing, and which enable them to be flexible and responsive in changing circumstances.
We have a special focus on those who are unemployed, underemployed, or self-employed, as people in these situations are the most likely to feel isolated and under-resourced.
We also aim to run themed projects that emerge from wants and needs expressed by participants in our core work. Themed projects will remain focused on the experiences, wants and needs of chronically ill people, but will be open to everyone.
We Make The Path CIC is a new community interest company focused around releasing the potential of chronically ill people, through coaching, support, and collective action. We provide opportunities for chronically ill people to do what they want to do, in a way that is sustainable for them, building confidence, skills, capacity and community along the way.
About the role
We are looking for a volunteer to take on the administrative side of the following areas of work, with a view to paid employment in the future:
Group coaching and courses
Any other administrative tasks, as required.
The hours are not fixed (and will be flexible according to your schedule and availability) but will probably be 10-15 hours per week to begin with. This role is home based, and requires access to a computer, tablet or smartphone, a reasonable Internet connection, and a willingness to meet virtually at a mutually agreeable time between 11am and 7pm British time on a regular basis, agreeable to both the successful candidate and the director.
While this role is currently unpaid, it includes training in all areas of work: not just in specific apps and software but also in the principles involved. The successful candidate will also be encouraged to make liberal use of our extensive library of training materials in a wide range of topics (communication skills, conflict transformation, mutual aid, storytelling, anti-racism, anti-capitalism, gender diversity, and more).
If fundraising efforts are successful, this role will become paid at or above the national living wage for your location, plus any additional payments necessary for your location, such as medical coverage. After a probationary paid period, the successful candidate will have the option of joining the enterprise as a workers’ cooperative member and director.
We welcome applicants from all sections of the community. While existing skills in the areas of work involved would be a bonus, your passion for our work and your willingness to learn are far more important. Lived experience of chronic illness and / or of taking action for change would be an advantage.
To apply for this job please visit elinor097817.typeform.com.
Social Entrepreneurs Network Scotland (Senscot) is registered as a Scottish charity under Scottish Charity No. SC029210 and as a limited company under Company Registration No. SC278156. Its registered office is at 41 Miller Street, Glasgow.