Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities
Messages from 'Having a good day' - Good information
Information in accessible formats is essential so that people can make choices about what they want to do, and can be as independent as possible. Information about the community experiences of people with learning disabilities and family carers helps, as do 'tasters', and regular 'what's on' information.
- There is a lot of community mapping taking place, but it's easier in urban areas than rural areas.
- Keeping information about opportunities up to date is a significant challenge.
- In some areas people with learning disabilities are undertaking access audits and providing information as part of their day service.
- People continue to need regular information about the relationship between their benefits and work to overcome continuing fears.
- Services are using stories of personal change more and more to show that things are possible. When people with learning disabilities and families give presentations it has a really positive impact.
- There's a lot more to do to ensure that information reaches families in some ethnic minority communities. Different approaches are needed.
- Ensure there is a proactive information strategy with activities that have secure funding: the need for people to have up-to date-information about community opportunities and developments will not disappear. Why not n egotiate with local papers and radio stations to get a regular information slot, including media targeted to ethnic minority communities in your area? Healthy living coordinators have had success in getting space in local papers to promote their activities ... so go for it!
- Think about how people with learning disabilities can be supported to develop their information-gathering activities into a small business or an activity that benefits the whole community. Other people need information too.
- Go local in rural areas. Mapping opportunities and 'what's on' at a district level is nigh impossible, but having local teams of people who cover just a small area, perhaps one or two villages, is much more achievable. Parish magazines and local shops are often a great source of information, as are everyday conversations.
- Think about how you can use natural community connectors - post offices, local shopkeepers and delivery people, the local take-away, churches, clubs etc - to spread the word
- Use the Disability Equality Duty to help community facilities understand their responsibility to make signage and information accessible, and then support them to get it right. Why not give organisations a copy of the Mencap guidelines for accessible writing (see Links and resources)?
Into employment is a newsletter produced by supported employment services in Essex . Each issue includes a number of interviews with people who have been supported into paid work, and with employers and work colleagues. It helps families and staff to see that paid work really is possible, and that people really do benefit.
The Positive Futures team in Nottingham is a partnership involving the local authority, local primary care trusts, Mencap, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and the Home Farm Trust. Among other things their Easy Info group has been working with local libraries, the police and the witness care unit, education, housing and leisure services to improve their information. The group, of people with learning disabilities, check out the information and act as advisers.
Better Days in Newcastle supports people with learning disabilities to work with a range of organisations to break down barriers to inclusion. Their training group, of people with learning disabilities, delivers sessions that aim to raise awareness of the needs of people with learning disabilities. They have worked with staff at the civic centre, a local leisure centre, a health centre and local museums and libraries.