Advocacy group York People First has launched an accreditation for organisations to promote equal opportunities and challenge perceptions of what people with learning disabilities can and can’t do. To qualify for the 'York People First AAA award', organisations must engage in awareness training that highlights the progress towards equality that has been made, some of the barriers that people with learning disabilities still face, and share their hopes for the future.

Becca Cooper, chairperson of York People First, said: “Disability awareness has come a long way yet we still face many barriers every single day. There is a huge need for everyone to understand what it really means to have a learning difficulty. We are all very excited about the new accreditation and how we can use it to spread a positive message.”

Shaun Lavery, who is part of the York People First training team, added: “This is no token gesture. To qualify for the York People First AAA award participants will need to show real engagement and willingness to learn. Get ready to have your perceptions challenged, to debate, to be provoked and hopefully to leave at the end of the day feeling inspired.”

Cheshire-based 3L Care, which provides nursing and social care for children and adults with complex healthcare needs and learning disabilities, has become the first organisation to bid for the accreditation by booking an awareness training session. Marcus Tarrant, director of 3L Care, said it was an opportunity to raise the bar for his staff and the local community. “When we heard about this new accreditation we jumped at the chance to earn it. The opportunity to learn from such an inspirational group of people is one that is not to be missed.”