Learning Disability EnglandOn November 22, Simon Cramp attended the Learning Disability England Conference – here are his thoughts on that event.

Despite the awful weather in the North – with heavy rain and flooding affecting many parts and causing havoc with travel plans – more than 200 people made it to Learning Disability England’s (LDE) first event since it was launched in June at the House of Lords.

The event was packed with the great and good from the learning disability sector, including speakers from the National Development Team for Inclusion, Dimensions, Paradigm, Choice Support and many others. LDE co-founder Gary Bourlet chaired the event alongside Alicia Wood.

In the morning sessions, there were moving stories about how supported living has affected people’s lives – the good, the bad and the ugly of it.

In the question time session, chaired by social care royalty – David Brindle from The Guardian – there were some interesting perspectives on how the sector is faring, both good and bad.

Lunch was spent catching up with old friends and new, including providing some words of encouragement for someone who was going to speak but was finding it difficult – reminding them that all the delegates there want them to succeed. He took those words on board and went on to do a brilliant job. It really felt like we were all one big family at the LDE conference – everyone looks out for each other and supports them.

In the afternoon workshops, there was more detail about some of what is happening in the field, coming from experts, and an exchange of views on how we make things better and sort out or stop some of the problems that could happen, especially in the current political climate, where local councils do not have enough money and how we – LDE – can help to tackle it. 

Finally, before going home we watched a short film of the day, which was a good way to show to delegates in a bite-size chunk what we did and what we want to do next. 

Now, we can look forward to next year, when the LDE family will come back together to discuss how to solve the next pressing problems that arise in the sector.

About the author

Simon Cramp is a fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform and a lifetime member of Learning Disability England.