Housing, transport and benefits are just some of the issues that three people with learning disabilities will be raising at a new government-run advisory network.
This International Day of Persons with Disabilities, national learning disability charity Hft is celebrating their achievements in highlighting the issues affecting people with disabilities.
Henry, Becky and John have been accepted into a new scheme that enables people to advise government on inclusive policy development. They each sit on regional stakeholder networks run by the Disability Unit (formerly the Office for Disability Issues), which provide a platform for people with disabilities to share their views and experiences in order to inform the development of policies and services affecting them. As well as influencing government, members of the network will be working closely with other local people with disabilities and disability organisations and reporting back on the issues facing them.
The Disability Unit network isn’t the first time the trio have played a key role in effecting change for people with learning disabilities. In 2017, Henry and Becky travelled to Geneva with Hft to share their experiences of the effects of austerity at a United Nations hearing about how UK policy has impacted on people with disabilities. One year later, they joined the charity in presenting a pair of shoes to former Prime Minister Theresa May as part of Hft’s Walk in our Shoes campaign, which encourages MPs to spend time listening to the concerns of people with learning disabilities. Meanwhile, John, who is passionate about transport, visited the Office of Rail and Road to share his views on accessible transport in 2018.
Tuesday (3 December) marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, with this year’s theme focusing on working towards an accessible future, where people with learning disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.
“I feel really excited because it’s an opportunity to learn new things. I’ve done advocacy work in the past for Hft and for Devon People First and I worked as a disability officer at college.
“The theme I am most interested in talking about is benefits because I think it’s really important that all disabled people have enough money for a good life. I am hoping that being part of the network will mean that the community is more accessible and there is more accessible information for disabled people.”
Amy Gordon, Involvement Coordinator at Hft, said:
“This International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we’re proud to be celebrating the actions of people like Henry, Becky and John, who are passionate about bringing about positive policy change and creating a more accessible future. This is a great opportunity to connect work already done at Hft to the Disability Unit, so that the people we support can have their say on the services and policies that affect them.”
Hft currently supports more than 2,500 people with learning disabilities across the country. This includes supporting people with learning disabilities to live independently in their own homes, providing employment services to help people develop skills and experience for work and helping people to pursue hobbies, make new friends and get involved in their local communities.
Notes to editors
Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.
Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.
For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk