Safe and SecureA new free book that focuses on future planning for people with a learning disability and their families has been published.

Safe and Secure England, published by learning disability charity Thera Trust, focuses on enabling families to create a future plan and an enduring circle of support. It also covers topics including housing options; financial, legal and technical matters; wills, trusts and estate planning.

There are currently 70,000 people with a learning disability living at home with their families. Many of these families are anxious about what might happen to their relative if they are no longer around to care for them. Very few have done any future planning or have written a will.

Safe and Secure England was written by families who have experienced the same fears and has previously been successful in Canada and Scotland. Thera recognises that there is little support available to older carers in England and has been instrumental in ensuring families in England can also benefit.

For instance, setting up a circle of support comprising people close to the person with a learning disability who will continue to be support, love and care for them even when their family carer is no longer around, can bring peace of mind.

Pauline (76) is a carer for her daughter, Alison, and set up a circle of support 9 years ago. The circle meets 4 times a year and consists of family friends, neighbours and other people who are important in Alison’s life. Alison now runs the circle herself and turns to them, rather than her Mum, when she needs help making decisions about her life. 

“People think it’s a good idea but what I hear mostly is, ‘I wouldn’t know who to ask’ or ‘I’ve got no one to ask’,” Pauline said. “It is quite a daunting prospect and I think families actually need support to be able to do this. But it’s absolutely worth the effort. I am really passionate about it because it has enhanced Alison’s life so much.”

Safe and Secure England is free and can be requested from Thera’s website: www.thera.co.uk/safe-and-secure