Getting Seen, Getting Heard, Getting Involved for Good Support

An Update from Gary and Mary on the Houses of Parliament Reception to Launch the Future of Care 5 Report written by the Social Care APPG in March 2024 

The event on 20th March was attended by approximately 60 people and was introduced by the Rt Honourable Damien Green.  He then handed over to Sam Willacy, a self-advocate.  Sam talked about the social care support that he has, where he is living in Cumbria.   

This report of the event is written by Gary Bourlet and Mary Woodall

The launch was an All-Party Parliamentary Group event (that is, it included all 3 main political parties) to talk about the launch of the Social Care 5 report.  The reports say

  • social care needs to be co-produced. 
  • people working for Carer Providers need to get a decent wage
  • family carers should be supported and heard.
  • The people being cared for, like those with learning disabilities or autistic people, need a voice and to have a say in what kind of care they are getting, too.  

The MPs talked about the fact that in the past Social Care has always been seen as something for children and elderly people, but not talked about by those who are working age and that needs to change. Social Care is either run by private companies, local authorities, charities or family members themselves.  

The issue was raised of the shortage of social care staff.  Even those who love the work they do leave because they only receive the minimum wage or less.  There needs to be an increase in salaries and good career opportunities, especially for young people coming through college and universities.   

Helen Whately spoke very passionately about fixing Social Care and looking at career progression for workers in Social Care.  She used the example of Shared Lives as an option of what may be an affordable option in the future.   

Mary spoke to MPs Clive Efford and Sarah Owen and, also, Emily Bird, member of the labour party.  Mary expressed her unhappiness about the current situation in social care, explaining that she was not satisfied with the level of support people were getting and how the social care workers were undervalued.  Mary also talked to Ali Gunn about the possibility of Mary’s local MP, Clive Efford, championing the My Vote My Voice campaign. 

Gary spoke to the Rt Honourable Damien Green MP about people with learning disabilities being social care workers too, it seems he agreed with Gary’s thoughts.  

The Easy Read version of the Report is here. You can find a link to it in the Good Lives manifesto briefing (more on that soon).   

We agree that MPs from all political parties need disability equality training and disability awareness training, as well as unpaid carer issue awareness. 

Mary and Gary had their photos taken with MPs.  Talk to Mary if you want some tips on how to talk to politicians because she is very confident and experienced.  Gary had his photo taken alongside his local MP Sir Roger Gale and Gary had the opportunity to explain how he had founded Learning Disability England in 2016, which Sir Roger was very impressed about – this would be a great opportunity to organise a meeting with him in Margate to continue Learning Disability England’s advocacy work for those with learning disabilities and autism. 

It was a very well-attended event by those in the learning disabilities and autistic communities as well as family carers and this really helped MPs to be aware of people’s issues, so it was a great opportunity to continue to increase visibility for those with learning disabilities and autism. 

Gary said “I written to my MP about these issues, have you written to your MP about Good Lives”? You can download an example letter here.

Tells us if you get a reply or meet your MP.