Amanda is a freelance researcher and consultant with particular experience and interest in health, social care, housing, wellbeing, equality and inclusion for her company Amanda Topps Consultancy. She has over 25 years’ experience working with people in various local government roles and voluntary settings including provision of services, social work and commissioning.
Amanda is passionate about social justice, inclusion, equality and finding innovative ways to improve the quality of support. She believes that leaders and commissioners who work in equal partnership with citizens will see the most innovative and successful solutions to challenges. She thrives in situations where things need to be done collaboratively and creatively, using research to enhance the knowledge base of the sector and involving citizens at all levels of project development. Amanda has managed Learning Disability Partnership Boards and specializes in co-production utilising Art of Hosting, graphic facilitation, coaching and Positive and Productive meeting skills.
Amanda has designed programmes and projects resulting in citizen-shaped services leading to improved quality and person centred practice. One of her particular interests is in community development utilising strengths-based approaches. She leads a co-designed friends and relationships project with adults with learning disabilities which provides social opportunities and promotes inclusion, community participation and belonging whilst enhancing skills and confidence. The group has developed a unique and sustainable model of peer networking and hosting. Her work focuses on improving lives and shaping services to support independence, rights, equality, wellbeing, choice and autonomy.
Amanda has published good practice reports to demonstrate the success of inclusive, sustainable and strengths-based approaches and community projects. Her research reporting the experiences and needs of people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities and their carers directly impacted service improvement and was cited in a national publication by government. Amanda has authored an LGA supported literature review about specialist housing.
In her spare time Amanda leads an inclusive holiday for people with different abilities, inviting people to enjoy active holidays together supporting each other to have fun and build friendships. Amanda is part of Eden Communities and enjoys supporting local outreach to people living on the margins of society. She initiated the development of a bereavement course and support group for people with learning disabilities and established a sensory story group for people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities in a local library.