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Stepping up to the Challenge – Part Two
Last time I spoke about some exceptional people with learning disability who are making a name for themselves by raising awareness of their own situation and challenging public perceptions of disability. Here are some more inspiring types to give us hope.
Gavin Harding is a real politician. The co-founder of the National Forum of People With Learning Disabilities is an active proponent of the need for people to get involved with the political process. He is clear about the need to raise awareness in the political arena of the importance of the benefits system in giving people independence and dignity. He also wants to improve the way social services departments and providers deliver services across the country, with a view to ensuring quality support and care does not depend on where you live.
He was involved in drawing up ‘Valuing People’ as well as being the first person with a learning disability to be elected as a councillor for Selby, Yorkshire. www.nationalforum.co.uk
Fixing it with young people
If it’s tough to be heard for people with a learning disability, then it’s probably even tougher for young people with a learning disability. That’s why the website www.fixers.org.uk is such an inspiring read. Fixers is an organization linking young people across the UK who are campaigning for a variety of causes close to their own experience. That’s why Holly Pace, a young woman living in a supported community in Orpington, Kent, has so much to say. Holly has recently been involved in the launch of a poster campaign to raise public awareness of disability rights in her community. www.bromleytimes.co.uk/news/posters_unveiled_in_orpington_aim_to_show_people_with_learning_disabilities_are_just_like_those_without_1_3575975
And in memory of a special woman
While we are applauding these people who are working to improve the experience and profile of people with learning disability today, its important to reflect on the contribution of those people who grew up in a very different world for those with intellectual disability. Last year, Mabel Cooper died aged 68 years old after a life lived in the very restrictive environments that defined learning disability care in the past. Mabel was a fascinating public speaker and her contribution to the book ‘Forgotten Lives’ helped remind us of why it is so important to promote community presence, participation and inclusion. Read Mabel’s story yourself, celebrate her contribution to the journey these other individuals are making today. www2.open.ac.uk/hsc/ldsite/mabel
I’m off on holiday now; I hope these stories get you thinking about the possibilities for the people you support and help you look for ways to actively include them in their life journey.
Ginny Tyler – QCS Learning Disability Expert Contributor