Supporting the local learning disability community in Wales

November 7, 2019

At Consensus, our purpose is to ensure Opportunity, Choice and Success for the individuals we support. We recognised that one of the ways we can do this is to make sure that we are actively involved and at the heart of our local learning disability communities.

We do this by attending events that enable us to participate in the discussion and debate around issues affecting individuals and developments that can make their lives better; to celebrate and honour those who are striving to improve the lives and opportunities for people with learning disabilities and to share our own expertise and experiences on best practice approaches that we use within our services so that these can be used to benefit the wider community.

Recently our Welsh team have supported two important events in the Welsh learning disability Calendar; The Understanding Disability Awards 2019, held on 4th November, and the Learning Disability Wales Annual Conference, Right Here, Right Now, held on 6th November. 

Understanding Disability Awards 2019

Consensus recently sponsored the Understanding Disability Awards 2019 organised by the Understanding Disability Group, Parents Federation, held at Future Inn Hotel, Cardiff Bay.

Now in its 26th year, the awards aim to celebrate examples of where ordinary people have made extraordinary efforts to involve and include people with a learning disability in everyday life.

The awards are highly valued by recipients and highlight the effort of hidden heroes within the community – people who generously give their time and effort to help others. Awards are made in a variety of categories and nominations received by the public are voted on by a panel of parents, professionals and volunteers.

Over 120 people attended the event to see people receive recognition for their efforts.

Lorraine Jackson, Consensus Operations Manager for Wales attended the awards and said, “We were delighted to sponsor the Understanding Disability Awards again this year. It is a fantastic way to recognise the people who are proactively including individuals with a learning disability within the heart of our community as well as raise awareness of the importance of social inclusion in ensuring individuals can live meaningful and fulfilling lives.”

“There were so many heart-warming stories during the course of the evening, but I was particularly touched by a beautiful story of a supported individual who was able to gain more independence and autonomy due to her supported living service installing adaptive technology which enabled her to programme in reminders for medication and to video call her support team when they needed to,” added Lorraine.

LD Wales event – Right Here, Right Now, 6th November

The Consensus Wales team were pleased to attend and support Learning Disability Wales annual conference ‘Right Here, Right Now’ on 6th November which looked at the importance of people with a learning disability of all ages being seen, heard, included and valued in all walks of life. Like at school, college, work, home, community, arts, leisure and positions of authority and expertise.

Making a Wales where people with a learning disability are seen, heard, included and valued is important for everyone as it makes the most of people’s skills, knowledge and talents; helps services provide the right services and support and contributes to community cohesion and economic development.

There were 175 delegates in total in attendance and the team spoke to many social care professionals and individuals with a learning disability during the course of the day.

There were several workshops held throughout the day that looked at current issues affecting individuals with a learning disability including; employment and the benefits and pitfalls of volunteering; the right to romantic and intimate relationships and ways to make these relationships more valued, the use of consumer technology and digital video in the transformation of services; the importance of communication to ensure people are seen, heard, valued and included and the apps enriching communication for people with communication difficulties to ensure their voices heard.

Jude Capel – Jarvis, Consensus Community Services Manager in Wales said, “The event was an excellent opportunity for the learning disability community to come together to look at the importance of individuals with learning disabilities can be seen, heard, valued and included. The interactive workshops were a great way for people to share thoughts and personal stories, as well as ideas and innovations for making this a reality across a whole range of experiences. They also showed the outcomes that it is possible for people with a learning disability to attain and act as inspiration for others motivating and encouraging them to attempt things they might not have thought possible.”

“Within our residential and supported living services in Wales, we focus on supporting individuals to grow in independence and to work towards goals that are meaningful and important to them.  It was great to be able to share some of those successes and also gain important insights that we could take back and share with our colleagues and supported individuals – the whole event was very insightful and inspiring.”