Every two weeks since the start of lockdown Learning Disability England has held a zoom session for self-advocacy, family and community organisations.
We know that most groups and organisations changed what they normally do because of coronavirus. We were all trying to find the best ways to help keep people safe and connect.
Learning Disability England has been able to fund these sessions thanks to the grant that was part of the Government’s £750 million charity support package.
Everyone came together in these meetings to talk about how we could all support each other and the people we know.
People have been incredibly generous in sharing their ideas, learning, solutions and resources.
Some members of the group told us why these sessions have been so important.
Rosie from Inclusion Gloucestershire told us:
“These groups have helped our organisation to link with other self-advocacy organisations and share good practice and experiences. We welcome any opportunities to connect like this and hope this continues for the foreseeable future and is built on so that we can continue to grow.”
Sarah from Connect in the North said:
“I found it so useful to find out what people in other areas were doing to engage with people at this time. It prompted us to add activities for people to do at home to our newsletters. We usually only put in information about events.”
Kim from KeyRing told us:
“I have enjoyed being able to connect with different groups across the country. We were also able to connect with self-advocates in Ghana, which the group found interesting as they were able to learn about how they do things.”
Marsh from Lewisham Speaking Up said:
“The sessions have been a really valuable way for us to feel connected with others during the pandemic.
It has been helpful to hear that others have been going through similar experiences and challenges and I think that has helped us be more resilient.
I think the best thing for us has been the ability to connect and share work.
For example, by joining these sessions, I have connected our Director with Ace Anglia to talk about digital exclusion and I know our Health Ambassador project lead has also linked with Ace Anglia to discuss his work.
So, in a very real way the sessions have brought us together with another organisation in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”