Blogs and Vlogs


Our journey to becoming a self managed team – Learning Disability England Guest blog from Luke Beaumont at Connect in the North on 11 May 2021


Tate Modern attempted murder, media reporting and ‘totally inaccurate assumptions’ about autism – Learning Disability England Guest blog from David Robinson, self advocate member 28 April 2021


How we think about social care – research from #socialcarefuture – Learning Disability England  VLOG with Neil Crowther from Social Care Future 28 April 2021


Working from home and the new normal – Learning Disability England  Blog from Gary Bourlet, Membership and Engagement Lead 15 April 2021


‘Life during Covid – a different perspective’: Guest vlog by Simone Aspis – Learning Disability England  Guest VLOG from Simone Aspis, self advocate member and Director at Changing Perspectives 6 April 2021


Life for people with learning disabilities through the pandemic: what have the first wave findings told us? Blog from Gary Bourlet, Membership and Engagement Lead 25 March 2021


Self-advocacy for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities: Guest Blog from Jan Walmsley 19 March 2021


Speaking out and having a learning disability: Conversation between Gary Bourlet and Shaun Webster 18 March 2021



Health & Social Care Select Committee Inquiry: Evidence from people with lived experience: Guest blog by Ivan Olbrechts, Representative Body family and friends member  20 February 2021


“A breath of fresh air” – CHC update February 2021: Guest blog by Alison Giraud-Saunders, Learning Disability England’s volunteer representative on the CHC Alliance and the NHS CHC national stakeholder group February 2021


What’s in a day – does Covid offer a once in a generation chance to rethink day support? Guest Blog from Angela Catley, Director of Development at Community Catalysts  February 2021


We need a “Marcus Rashford” moment for social care: Guest blog from Lisa Hopkins, Chief Executive of SeeAbility January 2021


Staying safe at Christmas and Season’s Greetings! Blog by Gary Bourlet, Membership and Engagement Lead 18 December 2020





Learning Disability England Annual Conference 2021

Thank you to everyone who took part in the 2021 conference, One Year On: Staying Strong, Getting Stronger.


“OMG! That was AMAZING. Like at a club with a gifted disco DJ, we were carried along to a banging crescendo.

I am so fired up now. And excited.

Lord knows how many hours you have all put in, but each one was worth two more – such a great experience, platform and community.” 

Family member


You can see the photo gallery from the conference here (coming shortly)


The conference hashtag on social media for this year’s conference was #LDEGettingStronger.

You can use this hashtag to find out what people were sharing during the conference.


“I had the best time ever – I learnt a lot of stuff thank you”



This year’s conference focused on members and partners sharing examples what they have learnt and how they are working in creative and inclusive ways: 


  • How we as a community can stay strong through the rest of this pandemic
  • How we continue to get stronger as the country comes out of it
  • How we will work together to not let the inequalities continue unchallenged or unchanged

“Really engaging and lots of energy in the zoom room.”

Organisational member


“What a fabulous day! Thank you for inviting me to join you and all the brilliant presenters to share my/our experience, it really was a privilege! 

Love the zoom poll feature too – you made great use of technology to bring everyone together whilst staying physically apart and just how amazing to see so many self advocates mastering zoom!

That was a great Day1, looking forward to the rest of the conference.”

Conference speaker


Here is some information about all the sessions. 

You can also find the slides and recordings from session 1 that was open to everyone.

You can get the recording and slides from the other members-only sessions by emailing us at if you are a member. 


Session 1:  ‘One Year On: Our experiences and stories from the last year’

People shared their experiences from the last year and key messages for us to build on as a community in staying strong and getting stronger.

The speakers included self advocates, paid supporters, family members and partners or allies.

See the recording from the session and slides from the presentations here:

View the session recording here

View the session PowerPoints here


Session 2:   ‘Made Possible: stories of success by people with learning disabilities – in their own words’

A conversation between the book’s editor Saba Salman and two contributors, athlete and fitness coach Dan Pepper and self-advocate and Learning Disability England co-founder Gary Bourlet.

Then the ProActive community group members shared their film on changes, new skills and hope. They asked us all to think about what we will do to build on what we have learnt.

Speakers from the group included Elizabeth Wheeler, Michael Mclaughlin, Leanne Yeo, Peter Martin and Alix Lewer.

Session 3:   ‘So… what’s Changed?’

This session focused on what organisations and systems can do to be accountable and really learn from what goes wrong.

Fiona Ritchie presented and shared her ideas on what we can learn from the past year.

Local Area Coordination Network members shared stories of system change with Nick Sinclair from the LAC network.

Session 4:   ‘Being seen, being heard’

Jonathan, Shaun and Lorna from Open Story Tellers shared how telling our stories makes us stronger and how important it is to be your own authentic self instead of what other people say you should be like.

They also explained how having a life story helps others understand you if you can’t tell them.

Session 5:   ‘The Human Rights Act now and next – why it matters for us all’

Sanchita Hosali from The British Institute of Human Rights explained more about their Human Rights Act campaign and how members can be involved through social media and more.

This session focused on human rights and learning disabilities, using real life examples.

Session 6:   ‘Getting stronger – next steps’

The last session of the conference focused on 3 areas we know are important to Learning Disability England members:

  • Housing choices
  • Self advocacy being strong
  • Social Care in the future

Scott Watkin and Anna Severight shared some of the Social Care Futures work and the inquiry

Mark Conquer from Ace Anglia, Shaun Pickern and Liz Tilly from the Open University shared the Filling the Gaps research on self advocacy through last year

Ian Copeman from Housing LIN shared what we found from the Big Housing conversations in 2020.

The session also looked at what the impact of Coronavirus on people with learning disabilities research early findings has told us; and members worked together on what is important to do next.


“You all did an amazing job, I expected it to be good but I was so impressed!”

Organisational member

Learning Disability England is England’s only national movement where people with learning disabilities, families, friends and people that work in services come together on an equal basis to work for people with learning disabilities having good lives with equal choices and opportunities as others.

Membership starts from only £12 a year for individuals.

Find out more and join today!


If you have any questions, please contact us by email on   or phone us on 0300 111 0444.



Past LDE webinars

What webinars are coming up?


‘We want to ask you… What has the pandemic been like for you?’

Hosted by – PCPLD Network

Taking place on – Tue 8 June 2021, 12:30 – 13:30pm

About – Get ready for some interesting answers, with presenters who are not afraid to ask questions about death and dying

Book your place and find out more


‘Peter the wild boy’

Hosted by – Open Story Tellers

Taking place on – Mon 24 May 2021, 2pm and 7pm

About – A dramatic online performance of a true story

Book your place and find out more 


‘Supporting the contraceptive choices of people with learning disabilities’

Hosted by – Supported Loving

When – Wed 19 May 2021, 2pm-3pm

About – Explore how adults with learning disabilities are supported to make, and be involved in, decisions about their contraception.

Book your place and find out more


“Families Engaging in Positive Change”

Hosted by – Making Families Count

When: Tue 18 May 2021, 7 pm – 8:30 pm

About – Free webinar for family members/carers on working with healthcare providers for positive change after the death of a loved one in their care

Book your place and find out more


‘Coming out of lockdown: What are members doing and learning’

Hosted by – Learning Disability England

When – Thurs 13 May 2021, 2pm – 3pm

About – As we come out of lockdown there are new challenges to plan for and think about. In this webinar, members will share what they are planning.

Book your place and find out more

‘BASW England Webinar: Homes not Hospitals campaign – launch of key documents’

Hosted by – BASW

When – Mon, 10 May 2021 – 12pm to 1pm

About – Join us for the launch of a suite of resources for social workers which have been developed to promote the Homes not Hospitals campaign

Book your place and find out more


‘Learning Disability Community Covid Information Briefing’

Hosted by – NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

When – Wed 28 April 2021, 10am – 11am

About – An opportunity for advocates, carers and representatives for people with a learning disability and autistic people to join a virtual briefing and Q+A session around the COVID-19 vaccination.

Book your place and find out more


‘Technology help for people with Learning Disabilities’

Hosted by – AbilityNet

When – Tue 27 April 2021, 1pm

About – Explores the role technology has played in keeping people with learning disabilities connected, the types of challenges they might face and how to access free support and advice.

Book your place and find out more


‘Identifying early signs of worsening health in a person with a learning disability’

Hosted by – NHS

When – See all event dates by following link below

Book your place and find out more

Surveys and research

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.