mencap cmyruA series of guides aimed at helping adults with a learning disability and their carers access health and social care services have been launched by Mencap Cymru in conjunction with Cardiff University’s School of Law.

Jointly developed by law students, academics and Mencap Cymru, the toolkits aim to empower the carers and families of adults with learning disabilities and help them navigate their options to access services to which they are entitled.

The toolkits, which were launched at an event at the National Assembly for Wales on September 8, were developed from a recognition that carers are often overwhelmed by the breadth and complexity of the framework for accessing services.

Jason Tucker, from Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics, said: "The project provided students with a great opportunity to develop their employability skills, whilst gaining an insight into the vital work carried out by third sector organisations. We hope to be able to develop the project over three more years with Welsh Government funding."

Find out more about Keeping Valuing People alive: fair access to equality and life opportunities at the 15th annual Learning Disability Today London conference and exhibition.

The guides will be used by Mencap Cymru’s regional officers to support their work assisting people with a learning disability and their carers to access services. They will provide information relating to health and social care services, including the duty and obligations of local authorities and health boards, the legal framework governing the challenging of decisions taken by these bodies and future legal changes in the pipeline.

The project is part of a network of community engagement initiatives run by the School of Law offering students the opportunity to develop their legal experience while working on practical, real-world activities.

Wayne Crocker, director of Mencap Cymru, added: "Supporting people to take control of the services they need to live fulfilled and independent lives is central to our work as Mencap Cymru. The project with Cardiff Law School will give people with a learning disability and those who support them the confidence and knowledge to tackle inequality and poor access to services.

"I am particularly pleased that student volunteers at Cardiff University have become more aware of the specific needs of people with a learning disability and their carers through their involvement in the tool kits."

To find out more on School or Law projects visit www.law.cf.ac.uk/probono/