Changing Our Lives is a rights-based organisation, so human rights underpin everything that we do. We work alongside disabled people and people experiencing mental health difficulties, of all ages, as equal partners to find solutions to social injustice and health inequality.

Human rights are at the cornerstone of our democracy and enable us all to live well in communities that value the equal dignity of each person. Human rights are the freedoms and protections that every person has simply because they are human. 

In order for individuals to realise their rights, their communication must be respected and understood. Everyone communicates. Everyone’s voice should be heard, whatever that voice looks like or sounds like. Sometimes people have to work very hard to understand what a person is telling them.  Whether we can speak for ourselves, or do not use words to communicate, everyone has a right to be heard and must have the right support to make this happen.

All of our work is rooted in the belief that no one is too disabled and no one’s mental health is too complex to lead an ‘ordinary life’. Read some ordinary life stories here. 

Our approach rests firmly on the social model of disability. As such, we don’t believe people’s lives should be limited or defined by labels and diagnoses and we are committed to reframing how society views mental health and disability.

Our Vision

Our vision is of a society in which disabled people and people with lived experience of mental health difficulties of all ages are afforded universal human rights, resulting in them being in control of their own lives as equal citizens.

Our Values

Our values guide all of us at Changing Our Lives, as they shape the culture of the organisation, the way we behave and the way we work to challenge social injustice and develop solutions based on equality and an improved quality of life. These are the values of Changing Our Lives:

People First

All people should be seen as people first. We should not be seen simply in relation to a disability or a mental health difficulty. These labels should not be used to define us as a person, segregate us, remove us from society, or limit us in any way.

Independence

We are all inter-dependent; we all need support in our lives. No one is too disabled or too affected by mental health difficulties to lead an independent life. Being independent means having choice and control over your own life with as much or as little support as you need. It does not mean being on your own and doing everything for yourself.

Equal rights

All people are citizens in their own right and have the same human, legal and civil rights as each other.