Why does Learning Disability Alliance (LDA) England matter to families?

We are delighted to bring you today’s guest post from Dr. Simon Duffy.  Simon is the voluntary coordinator of LDA England. He is also the Director of The Centre for Welfare Reform.
Bringing Us Together are excited to be involved at this development stage of the LDA.  Today, Simon explains why the LDA is important to families.
LDA logoLast week I met the National Valuing Families Forum (NVFF) – which is where democratically elected family leaders meet to represent the interests of people with learning disabilities and their families. It was a key meeting for me. Already the National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities had agreed to join LDA England – if NVFF agree to join as well then the two most important organisations in England would have come together as an alliance.
I was very happy when the Forum agreed to join.
We had already got support from some other key organisations – People First England, Housing & Support Alliance, Association for Real Change – and of course – Bringing Us Together. With the National Forum joining LDA England now represented all 4 main umbrella groups in England.

But why is this important? Won’t this just be another lame exercise? Another talking shop?

No. I don’t think so. We don’t need another talking shop – we need action.
The reason why people are prepared to come together is quite simple – things have never been so bad:
  • Disability benefits are being cut, but unemployment for disabled people remains high
  • Social care is being savagely reduced, but people are still being sucked into crisis and ending up in institutional units or even prison
  • Housing rights are reduced, and independent or supported living is getting harder
Not only that but all the structures of advocacy, Legal Aid and human rights are being diminished. Government has discovered that disabled people are a good scapegoat in a time of crisis and they have become the number one target for cuts.
Of course it is people and families who face the brunt of all of this.
The trick of course is to work out how to change things.
Our plan is quite simple – although I don’t think anyone else has ever tried to do something like this before:
1. Bring people, families and their allies together in partnership – too often people split up into different groups – leaving everyone weaker. We will unite – but also make sure people and families can’t be outvoted by professionals.
2. Communicate powerfully – on our own we are often afraid to speak out with confidence, and the system benefits because people don’t want to upset their funders or powerful politicians or civil servants. People need to know the truth.
3. Quality check Government – people and families will be saying what’s important to them – and measuring Government and political parties by how well (or not) they are listening. We will be marking all the parties out of 10 before the General Election.
There’s lots to do and only 200 or so days until the General Election.

Want to Get involved?

  • People and families can join as individual members
  • Group can join up too, to represent their members
  • Work with Bringing Us Together – share information and ideas which they can bring to us as part of our Advisory Board.  Stay strong.

Join up as a member on the Learning Disability Alliance website

BuT Site Admin

Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.

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