In 2007, ENC launched the ICAN (Involvement Choice Advocacy National) Programme, to provide BME Disabled People and Communities with access to regionally based teams of Advocates and Mentors that specialise in involvement and choice; covering such areas as Health, Social Care, Housing, Education, Employment, the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems. The main purpose of the ICAN Programme is to mainstream service provision through to voluntary and community groups and charities, so as to provide a sustainable resource through community empowerment, leadership, enterprise, networking and ownership.
At the core of the ICAN strategy has been the development of a national network where individuals and organisations can work in harmony as partners in order to realise and achieve their shared goals. Having such an association of mutual support and collaboration will form a national framework from which local needs can be identified; and individuals and organisations can be part of a movement that has a real voice and influence; rather than being just another rung on the ladder of bureaucracy.
ICAN casework cuts right across communities, reaching some of the UK’s most secluded and discriminated groups and Individuals consisting of:
- Disabled people,
- Mental health sufferers/survivors,
- People with learning difficulties; and
- Black males in the Criminal Justice System.
Establishing a national framework has been onerous, having to work closely with statutory and voluntary partners; in that time ENC has built strong links and formed partnerships with other BME Disability and Carers Organisations; Community Groups and Statutory Agencies throughout the UK; focusing on making the kinds of meaningful changes that will bring a lasting legacy of improvement to the quality of life for this highly under-represented and deprived group of people. ENC have developed national programmes focused on capacity building, community civil renewal and community participation training in Independent Living, Disability Equality, Culture and Diversity, Awareness, Education, Information and Advocacy.