Why are people with learning disabilities still invisible citizens?
Friday 28 November 2014
This week is a very big week for Brandon with the launch of our 20th Anniversary Report. While there is much to celebrate in terms of progress over the last 20 years, it also makes challenging reading!
In a nutshell, those we support told us loud and clear at our 100 Voices conference this summer, that they want more; a LOT more. More jobs, more friends and relationships, more opportunities to be involved with their communities. While some are able to share great stories of how connected their lives are, this is far from the norm for people with learning disabilities in the UK. Furthermore, we commissioned an independent piece of research which demonstrated that over half the population in Britain do not know anybody with a learning disability and of those that do, 25% of them see that person less than once a year. We believe that while we have achieved ‘care in the community’, for most this is in fact ‘care without the community’.
Support providers must renew their commitment to becoming catalysts to connect people and remember that they are not the end in itself. Failure to connect people will mean that the providers of today are simply new forms of institutions, replacing the larger ones of old. We call for action from policy makers, providers and commissioners to transform their thinking and activities to drive forward this agenda; enhancing the lives of people with learning disabilities and building stronger communities whilst doing so. By the time Brandon Trust celebrates its 40th birthday I hope that this this piece of the puzzle will be well and truly in place! If it is not, we won't have done our jobs.