GMCDP hosted a community screening of Defiant Lives on Tuesday 20th March at the Antony Burgess Foundation in Manchester. We thought it was important that disabled people got the opportunity to see this film, as it documents the rise of the disabled people’s movement in Britain, Australia and America.

GMCDP felt that given that the film focussed on our history as a Disabled People’s Movement, it was also a great opportunity to get members together and have our first members meeting in a few years.  

What happened?
Over 35 people attended the screening of the film, most of who then stayed for the members meeting held after the film.  At the members meeting, people got into groups of around 6 people, to allow more time for discussion, and to ensure everyone got a chance to have their input.  Each table focussed on the following areas:
* what people thought of the film
* what GMCDP can do to improve its inclusion of members as a members organisation
* what members feel the membership should/could be doing
* whether people thought there was a Disabled People’s Movement anymore
* What members would like to see GMCDP campaigning on

Members had an hour to discuss these topics, and each table had a facilitator, to take notes so that the various discussions could be shared with all GMCDP members. Unfortunately there wasn’t time for each table to feed-back at the event but we have recorded all comments and intend to use them to influence what we do in the future (a copy of all the feedback can be obtained by contacting Nicola at GMCDP)

Key areas    
The key areas which were a common theme and came up on each table as an area of importance were:

* GMCDP needs to have regular members meetings, both to engage with new members, but also to improve its inclusion of members.  It also needs to provide more opportunities in general for members to get involved with the organisation  

* Recruitment of new members is key to the organisation’s future. We need to be doing this in a variety of ways, including remotely through social media; members meetings; open events and social events
* As an organisation we need more frequent communications with our members. We need to use things like social media, as well as traditional methods previously used such as newsletters.

What happens next?
Based on the input from members, GMCDP is going to do the following:
* Host another members meeting in May
* Organise a summer social event (e.g. a picnic)
* Organise a training session on self-advocacy for members
* Look at producing a regular Members Newsletter that will advertise forthcoming member’s events amongst other things.

Thank You
Big thanks to all who came along to the event and contributed their ideas and opinions. It was really great to see so many people both regular and new members.

Also thanks to the members of the Campaigning Sub group and Nicola for putting together a really good event. We look forward to more in the not too distant future.

By the way, we like the new Coalition Green T-shirts!

Some comments from the evening
* More cooperation and co-production with other marginalised groups
* I am a member because I believe it is a good way for disabled people to group together to effect change and stop the reversal of rights for disabled people
* Government tactics is often to ‘divide and rule’ therefore by oppressed groups joining together we are stronger
* Should be a monthly membership newsletter, which is largely created by members for members
* My favourite thing about GMCDP is we are still fighting for the rights of disabled people 30+ years on!
* Not enough people know about GMCDP - We need a pool of members who are active


Montage of GMCDP members meeting

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(GMCDP does not necessarily support or promote any organisation, individual or website mentioned in this post.)