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.

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 are committed to reframing how society views mental health and disability.

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 disability or a mental health difficulty. These things should not be used to define us as a person, segregate us or remove us from society, or limit us in any way.

Bravery

As a team and an organisation, we are brave in the work we do. Health and social care systems are not built on the social model of disability, so we know that changing cultures, attitudes and behaviour takes time and patience but must be met with determination and a will to succeed. 

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.

Communication

All disabled people, even those individuals who do not use words, communicate and have a right to be heard and supported in their individual communication needs.

Coproduction

All of our work is rooted in coproduction with disabled people and people with lived experience of mental health difficulties. Coproduction is a philosophy, so what it looks like should seldom be the same. It is not about process, it is about people and a belief system that supports improved outcomes for people. It is a power shift that sees disabled people and people with lived experience of mental health difficulties as equal and reciprocal partners, having the skills and knowledge to create opportunities and solve problems.

Equal rights

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