in the community features
Power to the people
From service user to citizen – where to next for people with learning disabilities? Alex McClimens and Darren Lee investigate:
To begin, here’s a quick quiz. What links the following cities: Havana, 1959; Paris, 1789; Saigon, 1975; Prague, 1968? They were all sites of revolutionary uprisings where the incumbent leadership was overthrown by a mix of military and people power. Such things don’t just happen in foreign countries as we in the UK too have had our share of revolutionary unrest, although this happened a long time ago.
The thread that links these acts of rebellion was that the majority of the population felt that their political leaders were ignoring the rights of the ordinary citizen. In established Western democracies this situation is now managed by the electoral system that gives citizens the right to vote political parties in or out of government.
Bearing the brunt
Making ends meet
For people with learning disabilities who do not receive support services, living a life on benefits can be a struggle, as a research project found out:
For Joe [not his real name] the struggle of living on welfare benefits was epitomised by one occasion when, having run out of money, he resorted to stealing toilet paper from a bingo hall. Joe, who has a learning disability and receives no specialist support, had received food from a foodbank but had run out of other essentials, hence his theft.
While this may have been an extreme example, Joe’s struggles are by no means unique, as the Money, Friends and Making Ends Meet project found. This was an inclusive research project that explored the lives of a group of people with a learning disability who do not receive specialist support services. It focused on the strategies they used to cope with day-to-day living, their experiences of poverty, and the support they received from their social networks and social capital...
Staying out for the summer
A house and a home
High Worple is a residential care home with a difference, offering culturally-specific care to Asian adults with learning disabilities. The team of Asian staff assist residents to learn invaluable life skills while encouraging and nurturing them to lead a more independent life. Julie Penfold reports.