Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Charity’s long-term strategy aims to create the best life possible for people with learning disabilities

Real support

The learning disability charity Hft has set out a new long-term strategy to ensure adults with learning disabilities are not forgotten or ‘shut out’ from society.

The roadmap puts social care and independent living at the top of the charity’s agenda, after a survey conducted among UK adults by Opinium on behalf of the charity found that over 60% of adults believe the political agenda does not prioritise the needs of adults with learning disabilities.

Hft 2033: Your life, your way

Hft supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities nationwide and its new strategy has been coproduced with people with learning disabilities.

The charity says a decade of government underfunding, the cost-of-living crisis, the high number of vacancies in adult social care and overstretched local authority budgets have created a “perfect storm”, pushing independent living “out of reach” for many adults with a learning disability.

Hft has therefore developed a 10-year strategy to tackle these challenges head on and create a better life for the 1.5 million people with a learning disability.

“Today we launch Hft 2033: Your life. Your way,” explains Steve Veevers, CEO of Hft. “This new long-term strategy has been developed after extensive co-production with representatives from all our audiences, including the people we support and our colleagues. They clearly demonstrated a desire for equity and for people to have respect for their contribution to their communities. They also wanted to have choice as to where and with whom they live, access to employment opportunities, and more control over how they lead their everyday lives.

“We know life can be complicated for everybody. But learning disabled people often face additional hurdles. Some are stopped from working towards their dreams and aspirations. Many can’t live where they choose, or with whom they choose. Some don’t get to decide what they do for work. Others are prevented from trying new hobbies and making choices they want to make.

“An independent life is out of reach for many and we aim to hold on to the pioneering spirit of our founding families to change this.”

Becoming an ally

Mr Veevers says Hft’s new strategy aims to create the best life possible for people with learning disabilities. The strategy’s key elements include:

  • Building housing which supports people with learning disabilities to be independent
  • Offering supported living accommodation where this is right for the person
  • Enabling choice and control at every stage of life
  • Building relationships and enjoying life through activities and experiences
  • Finding and staying in work or volunteering
  • Developing innovation and technology that can be used by all
  • Amplifying calls for change.

The charity is also calling on everyone to become a learning disability ally and help fight for their right to an independent life.

Mr Veevers said: “We know we won’t be able to achieve our vision on our own and we want to work alongside learning disabled people, their families and the wider sector to create a different future.

“We are encouraged to see that 50% of the public in the Opinium survey said they had done something in the last 12 months that made them an ally of learning disabled people. If we can change this figure to 100%, we will have made major inroads to a more inclusive society, and to realising our vision of a future where learning disabled people can live the best life possible.”

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