Living Life with a Learning Disability
Today marks the beginning of Learning Disability Week (June 20-26), an annual campaign by Mencap about making sure the world hears what life is like if you have a learning disability.
Each year the Learning Disability Week aims to:
- Educate and raise awareness about learning disabilities
- Smash stigma and discrimination
- Campaign for a fair society
The theme for Learning Disability Week 2022 is Living Life with a Learning Disability. Mencap wants to show how people with a learning disability are reconnecting with friends and their communities.
Oxford Health are proud to be supporting Learning Disability Week. Throughout the week we’ll be shining a light on the initiatives the Trust has for raising awareness and improving services.
Leading Together group for people with a learning disability
Leading Together are an expert by experience group by and for people with a learning disability. They have have been meeting for four years now. Its regulars Dawn, Gina, Pam and Ben have not only achieved a lot but become friends, too.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the group has been meeting monthly on Zoom. It is not anyone’s preferred way to catch up – they would much rather meet in real life. But everyone has become comfortable using the technology, and regular meetings have enabled the group to carry on the work they most enjoy: making services more accessible to people with a learning disability – and as a result, for everyone.
Members of the group evaluate services and assess how they can be made more accessible, take part in senior leaders’ job interviews and produce easy read material, including Board papers and Council of Governors’ meeting papers.
They also provide their expertise to partner organisations. Just last week they gave their views to South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) on how the service can make their website more accessible for people with a learning disability.
Dawn, Gina, Pam and Ben all agree that the lockdown was a lonely time, but things are beginning to look brighter. Among the many activities they enjoy is the Stingray Nightclub, run every first Tuesday of the month in Oxford by and for people with a learning disability.
Ben pioneering as a governor
A huge achievement for the Leading Together group was to help get Ben McCay elected as a governor for the Trust last year. Ben said:
“I wanted to stand as a governor for Oxford Health so that people with a learning disability are represented. This has not happened before. So, I’m leading the way. I hope to make becoming a governor more accessible for people with any disability in the future.”
The Council of Governors meeting last week (June 15) was quite a momentous one: it was the first time in Ben’s term as a governor that the Council met face to face and not on Teams.
“It was good. I asked a couple of questions and it was good to meet the other governors face to face.” Ben says.
And ever the advocate for people with a learning disability, Ben immediately got busy networking.
“I met the people from Unloc who run the Oxfordshire Youth Board and asked if there are any young people with a learning disability involved. There aren’t yet, so I’m going to put them in touch with My Life My Choice.”
Live better, live longer
Right after LD Week draws to a close, there will a free drop-in event on physical health for people with a learning disability and their carers.
Held at Unipart in Oxford on Tuesday, June 28, the event is organised by Oxford Health and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
There will be important health information, fun activities and great prizes to win.
See the full programme here and spread the word!
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Published: 20 June 2022