Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities
10 key tasks - Key task 5: Creating a barrier-free community
- Prioritise the development of accessible changing facilities in mainstream community buildings so that people with higher support needs can more easily lead ordinary community lives. The PAMIS Changing Places campaign is a good source of information and support about what to do. See how it’s been used by Nottingham to great effect. Or you could encourage the local authority to purchase a fully accessible mobile toilet and personal care unit (see Links and resources).
- While mainstream community changing facilities are being developed (which may take some time) consider the full network of facilities already in your area - perhaps designated for use by other groups of people. As an interim measure, negotiate with the providers of those facilities to increase the options available for use by people with learning disabilities while they are out and about.
- If you hear about a new community facility being developed, make sure that people with learning disabilities are supported to have an input into the design.
- Support and encourage people with learning disabilities and advocacy groups to organise their own campaigns, and to link up with other local groups that are campaigning on accessibility.
- Use the Disability Discrimination Act and Disability Equality Duty to promote improvements, and commission and pay people with learning disabilities to act as mystery shoppers to assess accessibility of facilities, information, transport …
- Develop a culture where staff feel confident to support people in challenging prejudice and discrimination. Let staff know the kind of things they can do that would be helpful, and actions that are not likely to have positive outcomes.
- Make sure that people with learning disabilities are represented on the local community safety partnership
- Work hard on finding better, more ordinary transport solutions. There is a helpful list of good Practice examples on the Valuing People website.
- Read the sections on Rights and inclusion (in Foundation stones) and Community capacity-building in the Key Ingredients for more ideas and information.
- Make demands on local mainstream services - support people to go and ask for advice or help. Show those services that people with learning disabilities want to use them like anyone else.
- Make sure people with learning disabilities and their families know their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act, and have a copy of the Mencap booklet 'Know your rights’ (see Links and resources).
- Support people to report harassment and hate crimes. There is a leaflet listed in the Links and resources below that may help.
- Support people to campaign for change.
The Disability Rights Commission 2002 describes an inclusive environment as:
- easily used by as many people as possible without undue effort, special treatment or separation
- able to offer people the freedom to choose how they access and use it, and allow them to participate equally in all activities it may host
- able to embrace diversity and difference
- legible and predictable
- high quality.
The Centre for Accessible Environments says that inclusive design:
- places people at the heart of the design process
- acknowledges human diversity and difference
- offers choice where a single option cannot accommodate all users
- provides for flexibility in use
- aims to provide buildings and environments that are safe, convenient, equitable and enjoyable to use by everyone, regardless of ability, age or gender.
In Norfolk, car ownership has been pursued for one in every three people using their community-based day service, by using the mobility element of people’s benefits. There are no large buses and all support workers are drivers.
Community centres in Shotts and Moodiesburn have been refurbished to provide better access for disabled people. New changing areas have been developed with tracking and hoist equipment. The initiative, achieved through the day service modernisation strategy, received a corporate award in the category of promoting social inclusion.
The day service modernisation manager in Nottingham used the PAMIS Changing Places campaign video to help persuade neighbourhood services, chief officers and councillors that work was needed to achieve accessible facilities locally. A working group of access officers, architects, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and staff from neighbourhood services created a design and then tried out a mock-up. The council has been convinced: the redevelopment of the Market Square in Nottingham will include an adult changing facility, and others are in the pipeline too.
Links and resources
- The PAMIS (Promoting a More Inclusive Society) Changing Places campaign, to highlight the inadequacies of current provision and ensure that toilets for disabled people are made fully accessible, i.e. with sufficient space, privacy and appropriate equipment (height-adjustable bench and hoist) to allow carers to change people in dignified and hygienic conditions without endangering their own health.
- Mobile personal care unit
- Transport for London Travel Assistance Scheme offers the services of a travel buddy to help someone develop the confidence and skills to make a journey on their own.
- Travel Training good practice guidance, produced by Public Transport for Greater Manchester (2005).
- For a list of good transport examples compiled by Sean Gamage see the Valuing People website.
- On the Move factsheet 2: how to run a good transport campaign, Mencap (2004)
- Centre for Accessible Environments
- The Good Campaign Guide, Mencap (2000)
- Know your rights: a guide to the DDA and how it affects you: Mencap (2004)
- The Grapevine HAVOC Campaign team produces a leaflet for people with learning disabilities about reporting hate crime: see Keeping Safe section on the Valuing People website.
people with learning disabilities to your venue (Guide
for theatres, cinemas and arts venues), Mencap