Latest News People with learning difficulties have the power to effect positive change You might know that our vision is of a world where everyone is treated as an equal, valued as an individual, and has the opportunity to be seen, be heard and belong. You might know that we believe the best way to do this is to work in a way where we are EPIC (Equal, People, Involved and Co-Workers). You almost certainly know that we focus on achieving equality and inclusion between people with and without learning difficulties and/or autism because those people face some of the biggest inequalities and barriers to inclusion. What you might not know, is that our values don't stop there. Sustainability Changing the world takes time. We have been working to achieve this vision for over 15 years, and other groups have been working for longer than us. There is still work to be done to make society equal and inclusive. We want to make sure that the world is a great place to live in by the time we achieve our vision. So we value sustainability. "Our way of working should support the long-term well-being of society, the economy and the environment. We aim to “meet the needs of the present without preventing future generations from meeting their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development). We want our work to have a positive impact long into the future, not just for now. Our work should not cause harm now or in the future" - bemix Ethical Policy, 2019 In our experience, many people with a learning difficulty and/or autism who have been supported to think about their values naturally care about the lives of other people, animals and the environment they live in. Many people want to speak up for other groups facing injustice or that are not being treated equally. A key belief of bemix is that people with learning difficulties and/or autism have the power to effect positive change and this should be valued. By working to achieve positive change for other, less powerful, groups and causes, people with learning difficulties and/or autism gain more power. “People are very interested in their future and the future of the planet - people want to know how to protect it and feel it is important to understand the impact we all have.” Inside bemix We make sure that all of our work is done with minimal harming and exploitation of the planet. This includes people, animals and the environment. We consider this in the things we buy, the partnerships we form, the funding we seek. For example, our sites in Canterbury and Sittingbourne are powered by solar panels. We have a rainwater harvesting system that feeds our toilets at West Track Studio. We only ever buy recycled paper and use printers that use vegetable based inks wherever available. We buy Fairtrade, environmentally friendly and locally produced products. We take time to talk with everyone in bemix about the things we can do in our work to reduce the harm we cause to the planet. This means that our Ethical and Sustainability Policies are co-produced so that everyone knows how we work together in an ethical and sustainable way. Whenever we review our Policies, people always say they are pleased to know we do these things in our work. People often ask for extra training and workshops so they can learn more about what they can do to look after the planet. Reaching out Our social enterprises are set up to further these values in the community. Eco Shed is an enterprise in Sittingbourne that produces handmade products from timber and other materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill. People within the project learn skills in woodwork, teamwork, customer service and money handling. Discovery Catering is an emerging social business in Canterbury, running monthly vegetarian and vegan cafes which aim to provide affordable, ethically sourced food for the whole community. West Track Studios is a music rehearsal and recording studio in Canterbury. It is an enterprise that uses a lot of electricity and brings the community together, so we make sure that the electricity we use is renewable. Our Music and Arts projects raise awareness about social and environmental issues through their work. Risky Business drama group have been writing and performing pieces about unfair treatment of people with learning difficulties and/or autism in the criminal justice system. Our Dover Media group runs Audiobox, a radio show for Dover Community Radio. One member of the group developed a show to raise awareness about the harm caused by plastic use. One musician within our Music group performed a selection of songs about equality and social justice at a festival in Canterbury called Be the Change. “We should think about how our money is spent - I would not want to give money to a country that did not support people's human rights.” We believe we should use the power we have as an organisation to make choices that support equality, encourage inclusion and protect the freedom of people, animals and the environment across the whole world.