Campaigning group the Learning Disability Commission (LDC) has joined social care organisation VODG.
The LDC, which represented 15 learning disability organisations and more than 160 supporter groups, is now a special interest group within the VODG. The group – the LDC VODG Group – will continue in its aim to contribute a learning disability perspective to the campaign for social care funding. VODG is a group of more than 60 leading voluntary sector disability organisations, and works to influence and develop social care policy, promote best practice and keep members informed on issues that affect service delivery. The rationale for the move is that by being part of the wider membership of the VODG it will give the LDC a stronger voice for people with learning disabilities, according to the organisations.
Brian Hutchison, chief executive of VODG member and support provider Real Life Options, is the new co-chair of the special interest group. He added: “Teaming up with the VODG in this way makes perfect sense as we share similar aims. Choice, control and independence are key issues for the VODG and the LDC has argued since its launch that people with a learning disability have the right to live independent lives, with the right support. We also want to ensure the government provides enough money so that people with a learning disability have the same choices and chances as everyone else, another belief shared by the VODG.”
Andrew Lee, director of People First, said: “The LDC has managed to have a strong voice because of the different organisations that came together. It is good that the LDC will be able to benefit from joining with more organisations through the VODG. It is really important to join together in this challenging environment for people with learning disabilities. The LDC will ensure that the voices of people with learning difficulties themselves are present in future campaigns by bringing the membership of organisations such as People First who have played a leading role in the LDC over the last 5 years.”
Discussions are underway to decide how the new sub-group will develop, but it is expected that existing VODG members that provide learning disability services will be encouraged to join the new special interest group. The first meeting of the new sub-group will take place later this year and is expected to focus on learning lessons from the Winterbourne reviews.