Watford’s MP has pledged to support a new campaign, Voices for Our Future, which is calling for change across four key areas to improve the lives of learning-disabled adults.
The campaign was launched on Tuesday in Parliament by national learning disability charity Hft, where Dean Russell spoke to adults with a learning disability about their personal experiences and how they can support the campaign moving forward.
Following wide-ranging conversations with learning disabled people, Hft has identified negative attitudes, employment, housing and the social care workforce and funding as the most important issues to campaign on over the next five years to improve the lives of learning disabled adults.
Hft’s CEO, Kirsty Matthews, explains, “Voices for Our Future explains the change that needs to happen to enable people with learning disabilities to live their best life possible.
“We want everyone, including people who make the decisions in Whitehall and Westminster, to listen to people with a learning disability and be part of the change that is so necessary.”
In total, eighteen MPs attended the official launch on Tuesday, where they had the opportunity to speak to learning disabled people to understand exactly why these issues matter to them and what changes they want to see.
Dean Russell said “It is really important that those with a learning disability are given a voice and a platform to share their experiences, and it is just as important that those of us elected to office ensure that they are heard.”
To ensure their campaigns are truly informed by the voice and opinion of adults with a learning disability, Hft is encouraging learning disabled adults and those who support them to join the Walk in Our Shoes Network. Through the network, individuals will be given the opportunity to join calls for change.
One of those who will be joining the network, and had the opportunity to meet with MPs in Parliament, is Rachael Stead. Rachael has experienced the impact of negative attitudes and prejudice towards people with a learning disability and is calling for this to change.
She says, “It has happened to me and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”