Chris Watson

Chris is the founder of Self Directed Futures and has over 24 years experience of working across the public and voluntary sector in the fields of health, social care and community development with a focus on working with people with learning disabilities to achieve citizenship within their communities. He is presently a Fellow at the Centre for Welfare Reform and a Fellow at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
As well as working alongside people as a support worker at a grassroots level, in community based supported living projects, he has also worked at a strategic level in a local authority and on programmes delivering national priorities around helping people move out of institutionalised living environments and into their own homes.
It was within services that Chris started to realise that for people to have good lives they needed approaches to support that were designed around them as unique individuals, and that flexibility, in every area, was key to this.
Even in the community settings, in which he had previously worked, he noticed that organisations (and commissioning systems) could still end up creating the conditions for mini institutions with the needs of staff (fixed rotas and shifts) often dictating how a person’s support was delivered.
It seemed to him that people often had very little control regarding their day to day lives and that staff would regularly fulfil the role of ‘paid friends’ instead of working creatively to help people build and maintain their own friendships.
Support was often time and task focussed and very little effort was put into working alongside people to establish what outcomes they really wanted to achieve in other important areas of their lives.
Chris realised that an asset based approach, focusing on peoples gifts, talents and contributions while working in partnership with people and their communities was something that all commissioners and providers should aspire to create.
It was as a result of this he decided to set up Self Directed Futures, an organisation that is based around inspiring and supporting organisations to apply the principles of self determination, citizenship and self directed support.
Speaker Details
  • Founder, Self Direct Futures