Former Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill will be the special guest at this year’s Learning Disability Today conference and exhibition, which takes place on November 29.

Hill will be at the event to launch the new national membership organisation, The Housing and Support Alliance, as well as take part in activities.

In addition, the Learning Disability Today conference, now in its 12th year, has a range of presentations and seminars highlighting the best in learning disability practice.

There will also be a large exhibition of learning disability-focused organisations and several interactive zones.

Seminars include ‘Reasons to be cheerful’, an audience discussion on the future of services for people with learning disabilities. Speakers include: Scott Watkin from Seeability; Alan Rosenbach, special policy lead at the Care Quality Commission, and Mark Goldring, chief executive of Mencap.

Other seminars include how to work together to stop hate crime happening to people with learning disabilities, and how to get help if it does happen. Speakers on this topic include Jo Davies, Mencap’s national campaigns lead for hate crime who manages the ‘Stand by me’ campaign.

Elsewhere, there is a session entitled ‘Lessons from Winterbourne – action not more words!’ This seminar offers perspectives and discussion on what went wrong at Winterbourne View, and the need to reduce the number of assessment and treatment beds and other in-patient beds through replacement with local community provision. The case will be put forward that this cannot be delivered by guidance alone and needs a nationally-led change programme. Speakers include Vivien Cooper, founder and chief executive of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, who will give a parent’s perspective, and Rob Greig, chief executive of NDTi.

There will also be a special screening of the film Mission to Lars. The film follows Tom Spicer, who lives in a care home in Devon and has Fragile X Syndrome, and his quest to meet his hero, Lars Ulrich, the drummer in heavy metal band Metallica. 

Other seminars at the event include why one size does not fit all in terms of personalisation, whether the Mental Capacity Act is being used to empower people and growing older together.

The Learning Disability Today conference and exhibition is free to attend for people with a learning disability, unwaged carers, natural supports, and full-time students (£25 for waged).

For a full guide to the seminars, exhibition and interactive zones, click here: