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While we are still waiting for the main political parties to publish their election manifestos, there is a chance to catch up on what they might do to help people with learning disabilities. You can watch a video of spokespeople for the three big parties in Scotland by clicking here.
So far only the Scottish Green Party has published a manifesto but we will be supplying shortened Easy Read versions soon afterwards. Hopefully some of the parties will supply Full Easy Read versions later.
Our March newsletter has just been published and is being sent out to regular subscribers. If you would like to get your own copy by email then please let us know.
Our first article is a Conference Report from our Life's Getting Harder, Let's Make It Better conference that took place in Glasgow. This was a major piece of work designed and organised by people with learning disabilities and we hope you enjoy the energy and enthusiasm we have tried to capture on the video excerpts. Read the article here
Our second article in on the petition for new national guidance on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. This will be heard by the Petitions Committee on Tuesday 17th of March. Read the article here
Finally we report on the dropping of the 20 bed Care Home proposal by Glasgow City Council. We think it is important to let everyone know that this is now not going ahead. However we conclude that there is a concern that it still remains too easy for people with learning disabilities to be placed in care homes for older people. We are working on some research into this matter and will feature it in a future newsletter. Read the article here
You can also download an Audio version of the newsletter here. And please remember all our articles on this website can be read aloud by simply highlighting the text and clicking on it.
Over 160 people with learning disabilities, family carers, professionals and support staff registered for the LDAS conference on March 2nd 2015.
The conference heard stories and tales about the challenges that people have in their lives.
Andrew spoke about his worry over the benefit changes that were coming and how his life would be affected if he didn’t qualify for Personal Independence Payment.
Peter talked about the real difficulties he had with electricity bills and how he lost out because he wasn’t able to get the same deals as everyone else.
Mhairi said she had been bullied again and again in her work by colleagues and her boss until she had no choice but to leave losing her benefits as a result.
Aimee told us about being bullied in everyday places such as the pub over trivial things like a game of pool until she felt unsafe to go anywhere without friends.
Pauline spoke about how her daughter has been put on the “clipboard” and no longer has regular help from social workers.
The conference involved people in different ways of telling their stories. So that everyone could get their message across.
Margaret drew a poster illustrating the arrival of SDS. It showed her concern at what had happened in Glasgow but at least it was over but other areas weren’t happy as they had still to go through it. (See website for video showing Margaret explaining her poster in her own words)
There were also two cracking songs written during each workshop which were performed at the playback session. “I Want A Real Good Service” was performed to the tune of “You can’t push your granny off the bus.”
A small group of people performed short forum theatre pieces. One was on not having enough money for a cup of coffee. No money made people feel miserable but the piece also ended up with a collective solution to a shared problem. (see website—Video Coffee)
Another workshop produced video news bulletins looking at the problems in getting a service in the first place.
Jamie Hepburn, the Scottish Government Minister responsible for strategy for learning disabilities came and spoke in the afternoon. The speech is also on the website but highlights include.
“People should have the same rights and choice to have the right support to be active members of their community as other people. The SDS Act came into effect last year and should help support this.
“Welfare reform is an important issue for the Scottish Government. We are investing to help limit the damage to vulnerable people.
“Care Charges are important to you all. We are working with COSLA to get more consistency.
“The Keys to Life is encouraging partnership to deliver better services for people with learning disabilities. We face significant difficulties in public funding. But to meet such challenges we need to make sure services are tailored to individual needs.
The final word of the conference should go to Caroline Gray, LDAS secretary who opened the conference with these words. “Life is getting harder but let’s make it better because we are stronger together.”
Jamie Hepburn MSP, the Minister responsible for improving services and support for people with learning disabilities came to the Life Is Getting Harder, Lets Make It Better conference on Monday 2nd March 2015. This is a video of his speech.
The Minister makes a reference to the Charter For Involvement. You can find out more information about this here - http://arcuk.org.uk/scotland/charter-for-involvement/
The conference was a great success with everyone both pointing out the problems they faced and talking about solutions. More outcomes from the conference will appear on this website over the next few weeks. So check back often.
Please note that all our videos are hosted on You Tube. Problems have been reported with their subtitling system that can mean rude words sometimes appear. We apologise for this and recommend that you do not use the You Tube subtitle service. If you do so it will be at your own risk.