LINKAGE Community Trust, which has facilities in the Louth area, is supporting the development of a Lincolnshire Learning Disability Coalition, an independent body to promote the interests of learning disabled people and their families.
Disability groups, care provider organisations and individual supporters have already come together to steer the coalition’s development.
Linkage’s Policy and Campaigns Officer Linda Alexander said: “At a time of significant changes to services and funding cut-backs, we feel that it has never been more important to harness and strengthen the voices of learning disabled young people and adults across Lincolnshire and those of their parents, carers and families.
“Following a meeting of interested organisations and individuals, including several parents, we are delighted to be forging ahead with its development.”
The main role of the coalition is to develop shared knowledge by sharing individual experiences and using them to shape, develop and inform local and national policy.
Linkage itself has taken a lead in lobbying the Government during its recent consultation on accommodating the needs of disabled people. It has also launched an e-petition to call for genuine education choices for young learning disabled adults.
“Individual people and families sometimes feel they have nowhere to turn, in expressing their views about the services they receive. We hope to strengthen and make transparent the voices and the stories of learning disabled people and their families across Lincolnshire,” she said.
Coalition member Deborah Thornally knows only too well how families often struggle to get the services they need for their disabled family members and how they can feel isolated and powerless.
She is parent of a 22-year-old learning disabled son who is in transition from out-of-county residential education to adult social care services in Lincolnshire.
“Coming together like this and supporting each other to make our voices heard is really important if we want learning disabled people to be given choices in the type of accommodation they live in, their care, education and employment. Cutbacks are also causing problems to both providers and service users due to funding being reduced or withdrawn,” she said.
If you are interested in becoming a Coalition member or supporter, as an individual or an organisation, please contact Linda Alexander on 01522 507214 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org