Sometimes when I write the weekly blog, I worry that I focus too much on bad news. Sometimes it's hard not to though, and with stories in recent months such as the Winterbourne View scandal, cutbacks to social care services and all the rest, there's been plenty of bad news out there.
But this is not to say there aren't still good news stories out there and they should be trumpeted just as much as the bad. So here goes. Last week, learning disability charity Norwood launched Norwood Future Clean, a car wash in Hatch End in Harrow, staffed by people with learning disabilities - the majority of whom had no previous employment experience.
Not only does this project give the people involved key work skills it will also teach them some business skills - something that will be invaluable in the future as they seek other jobs. Additionally, Norwood Future Clean is run as a commercial venture, so when it begins to make profits the participants will earn a wage - the boost to self-esteem of earning a wage is the same for people with learning disabilities as those without.
This is a great example of the sort of projects that are taking place across the country that are giving people with learning disabilities the opportunity to gain employment experience. There are many others like this and they should also be highlighted. In Learning Disability Today magazine, I always try to ensure that great stories of good practice that make an appreciable difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities are included in every issue.Not only does it help to disseminate best practice, it serves as a reminder that despite all the bad news, on the ground there are thousands of people, involved in a wide range of projects, doing great things for and with people with learning disabilities. If you have information on any projects like this to do with employment - or to do with supported living, gaining independence or anything else you think shows the effectiveness of good practice - please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.