Gary Bourlet launched a new organisation recently called ‘Learning Disability England’ which aims to provide a more powerful voice to a group of people whose opinions and ideas are often largely ignored by those who are charged to make choices and care provision on their behalf.
Learning Disability England want to ensure that people with learning disabilities have real influence on, and inform the policy decisions made by politicians, policy-makers and the people who commission services to support them. This is an approach that ubu firming believes in and works to enable the people we serve to take part in and responsibility for.
Learning Disability England plan to gain this stronger and more influential voice by campaigning for change, promoting self-advocacy and making sure that better information and advice available. It is a membership group open not only to people with learning disabilities, their families and friends, but crucially it is also open to the key providers, decision-makers, funding agencies and organisations that work with them. It is an opportunity for everyone involved to have an open discussion and to hear first-hand about the issues that impact on people with learning disabilities.
ubu has always promoted the principle that people with learning disabilities have a right to meaningful and effective dialogue and influence in the way they are supported and that their views and opinions should therefore be properly respected and taken into account.
Learning Disability England wants to ensure the public comes to view people with learning disabilities as full citizens they are with an equally important contribution to make to our society as anyone else. “We want to be part of the communities we live in” says Gary.
In a very eloquent essay in the Guardian newspaper, Gary discusses a variety of ways that his new organisation intends play a leading role in improving the services and support received by people with learning disabilities. “I would like to see service commissioners employ people with disabilities in [policy] development roles working alongside non-disabled people”. As Gary goes on to point out, this kind of hands-on involvement and interaction will make sure that the services being developed and offered to people with learning disabilities will be much more likely to properly meet the needs of the people who are going to use them.
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