When Sue Hubbert (our Disabilities Officer) attended last year’s Labour Party Conference, she was concerned that there was no representation or mention of people with learning disabilities despite Labour’s aims to be “for the many” and to promote inclusion. Sue decided this situation needed to change for the 2019 Conference in Brighton, and here’s her mission:
The voices of people with learning disabilities need to be heard. They are being rendered more and more invisible as a result of austerity and, when it comes to public policy and provision, are often now lumped together under headings such as ‘disability’ or ‘mental health’ which fail to represent them adequately.
Funding cuts have meant that the lives of many adults with a learning disability have worsened in recent years. Those living with their families have become more dependent on family support as other services have fallen away; those living in homes of their own have become more isolated as support services and funding have been reduced; and those wanting homes of their own have been less able to access them due to the lack of development of social housing and to stigma and rising rents in the private sector.
But people with learning disabilities have hopes, dreams and ideas just like the rest of us. They and their families can also vote. It is time they were provided with a platform at Labour’s Conference to talk about their lives and needs and interact with politicians who can make changes happen.
Wimbledon Labour Party has commissioned a play devised by actors with learning disabilities (The Baked Bean Company) aimed at portraying their issues and how these might be addressed. The first performance took place in Wimbledon on 26th April (with Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disability, Marsha de Cordova MP, in attendance) and this is to be followed by further performances at Party Conference in September. Alongside these, we will also be organising a fringe meeting involving people with learning disabilities, campaigners and politicians.
We need to raise funds to enable our plans for Brighton to go ahead. The estimated costs for the Baked Bean Company, the fringe meeting and associated venue hire amount to £3,500.
Please help ensure the voices of people with learning disabilities and their carers are heard by politicians.