Christine Burke, Senior Development Manager at Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities says:
“Although the Human Rights Act includes the right to participate in the life of one’s local community, we still hear too many first-hand accounts of the barriers that people with learning disabilities face, to participate in ordinary community life. These can range from unwelcoming, hostile or unhelpful attitudes to a lack of accessible information or difficulties in accessing transport or other local facilities.
We think this is unacceptable and advocate for all services no matter their target client group to think about how they can make changes so that EVERYONE can access their service. Disappointing stories such as these prompted us to think about how we can help services to make small changes that will make a big difference to the people who may want to access them. This will benefit people with learning disabilities and their families as well as people with other forms of disabilities. However, the main benefit will also be to the services themselves as they will become inclusive and open up their networks to more people, ensuring their groups and services continue and grow.
Following this, today we are launching, in partnership with Values Incorporated
, the report ‘The Accomplished Community’
, which is the result of the three year project ‘Building Inclusive Kent Communities’. The report identifies and addresses how local mainstream services and groups engage with people with learning disabilities.
Accompanying this report is ‘Thinking About Inclusion’
, a guide for mainstream services and groups to help them to start thinking about how accessible their services are to people with learning disabilities and how they could make small steps to overcome any potential barriers to people accessing their services.
There is also a workbook, the ‘Self-Assessment Template’
which organisations and groups can use to do a critical assessment of their current practice.
We want to move away from a society which excludes people through not catering to everyone’s needs. This is not just something organisations who work specifically with people with learning disabilities should be acting on; this is a society wide issue.
If we want people with learning disabilities to be able to have the freedom to access all of the amenities that their local communities have to offer, we need to start changing how these services and groups cater to them. It is hoped that this report and guidance booklet will provide some important ideas and constructive steps as to how this can be achieved."
08 August 2012