Council invites learning disability community to shape future services

Merton Council is inviting people with learning disabilities, their families, carers and the professionals who support them to have their say on the future of day opportunities, as part of an ambitious engagement programme to improve services in the community.

The council wants to improve choices for people with learning disabilities by providing day opportunities across the borough that are relevant and meaningful to those who use the services, and support their independence as much as possible.

The council is working together with social enterprise, Community Catalysts to enable everyone to participate, by inviting them to take part in the ‘Big Conversation’, an engagement process that is starting today – 17th May.

The ‘Big Conversation’ was co-created by a reference group, made up of parents, carers, people with a learning disability and other stakeholders with an interest in the learning disability community.

As part of the Big Conversation, people with learning disabilities, their families, carers and supporting professionals will have the opportunity to express their views about current day, evening and weekend services.

There will be various ways for residents to contribute, including accessible and easy read paper surveys and online surveys on the council’s website, in addition to virtual and in-person one-to-one conversations and meetings. There will also be ways for those who don’t use speech or the internet to engage meaningfully in the process.

Councillor Rebecca Lanning, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said:

“We are embarking on an ambitious and exciting programme of transformation with our learning disability community and I’m delighted that, as part of the Big Conversation, the voices of people with learning disabilities, their families and carers will be at the heart of shaping the future of Merton’s day opportunities.

“This service review is committed to providing people with a learning disability a better choice in – and more control over – the services we provide them, reflective of changing needs and opportunities.  It is about creating a model of care for people with different levels of need, preferences and wants – just as we all have. While people with a learning disability may have additional needs, our services should provide the right support to enable them to have the same opportunities as everyone else, to be involved in our community, develop friendships and lead the life they want to in Merton.

“However, to achieve this, we need to hear from as many people as possible, and this starts with the Big Conversation. So, I encourage you to go to our webpage, where you can not only have your say, but also find out more about the review, and the work that’s brought us here. If you don’t have internet access, you can still take part by calling us directly. We look forward to hearing from you to help shape the future of day opportunities for people with learning disabilities in Merton.”

For further information and to fill in the survey online, visit Merton Council’s website here. The survey closes in mid July, after which a report will be sent to the council by Community Catalysts about the findings of the engagement programme.

There are a range of options online, including arranging meetings in small groups. Anyone who has no internet access can call Debbie John from Community Catalysts on 07990 515632.