People with a learning disability gave their opinions about the government’s plan for learning disability services, called the Bamford Action Plan.
The Bamford Action Plan lays out what the government is doing to make sure that people with a learning disability and people with a mental health difficulty get the extra help and support they need, such as help with being healthy, learning new things, finding and keeping a job, and getting a house.
The current plan began in 2009 and ends in 2011. The government wanted to find out what people with a learning disability think should be in a new plan, which will run for four years, starting in 2012 and ending in 2015.
On 6 October 2011 Mencap held five consultation meetings across Northern Ireland which 97 people participated in, including children and adults with a learning disability, families, carers and professionals. Each person joined a group discussion to have their say on what they want to see in the new plan so they get the extra support they need to have a full and equal life.
The consultation was supported by 14 Mencap staff members. LiveNet facilitated four groups by bringing them together using online video conferencing technology to create one large interactive event where the different groups could discuss topics and issues important to them together.
The LiveNet team were able to provide equipment such as laptops, mobile broadband, projectors, webcams, speakers, digital cameras, and digital video cameras as required to each of the four locations. One member of the LiveNet team was on hand at each venue to set up the conference and provide technical support during the event.
Some of the topics raised that people want to see in the new Bamford Action Plan include: increase in respite, more opportunities in education, social activities, getting a job, more information and support to get a house, equal access to health care.
Mencap has put together a report of all the topics discussed during the consultation meetings and will send this to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). This means they can consider all of the topics raised at the consultations when writing a learning disability plan for the next four years.
The comments were also shared with the All Party Assembly Group on Learning Disability and the Bamford Monitoring Group, which monitors the implementation of the Bamford Action Plan.
Who was involved
Thanks to Newry Gateway Club, Glenveagh Special School, Core Digital Network - Omagh, The School of Nursing - Queens University – Belfast, Orchardville Society, Compass Advocacy group, The Rix Centre as well as Mencap staff and volunteers who supported this process and ensured that people with a learning disability and family carers had the opportunity to have their say.