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Care cuts lead to surge in calls to Mencap helpline
Monday 03 September 2012
Mencap has decided to merge its two helplines into one freephone service, which it believes will make it easier for people with a learning disability to receive the support and information that they need.
Mencap has reported a significant surge in calls from people with a learning disability and their families regarding cuts to care and support.
The charity has experienced a 139% increase in calls and emails about community care in the past 12 months.The majority of these enquiries focused on concerns about cuts to personal support, fears about community care assessments and complaints about eligibility criteria changes by local authorities.
A recent report by Mencap, Stuck at home, revealed that 1 in 4 adults with a learning disability now spend less than one hour outside of the home as a result of changes to eligibility criteria, reduced funding and day service closures in many areas.
In light of increased demand for its advice lines, Mencap has decided to merge its two helplines into one freephone service, which it believes will make it easier for people with a learning disability to receive the support and information that they need.
From today, a free helpline, Mencap Direct, will provide information on services which are available to people with a learning disability, such as employment, housing support, and advice on a wide range of issues including social care, abuse, bullying and health. Specialist helpline advisers will also be able to offer guidance on personal budgets and support plans.
Steve McIlvenny, Assistant Director at Mencap, says:
“The surge in calls to Mencap in the past 12 months reflects the challenges that many people with a learning disability now face due to the increased financial pressures on many local authorities across the country. We know these changes have left many people isolated and worried about the future, and in need of easier access to better information and advice.”
Notes to editors
For further information, to secure an interview or to speak to a case study, please contact Pasca Lane on the Mencap media team on 020 7696 6017 or email email@example.com.
All Mencap helpline services will now be found under one freephone number, Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111. Mencap Direct is a one stop shop for any questions about learning disability issues and services, including information about things like benefits, personal relationships and education. Callers will be able to select 1 for services, 2 for advice and information and 3 for general enquiries.
• About Mencap
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
We are also one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. People with a learning disability and their carers can find out more about our services by calling Mencap Direct for free on 0808 808 1111, email firstname.lastname@example.org visit www.mencapdirect.org.uk.
• What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people.
The level of support someone needs depends on individual factors, including the severity of their learning disability.
Comparison between April – June 2011 (223 calls specifically relating to social care support) and April – June 2012 (532 calls specifically relating to social care support)