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15 June 2020

Friendship during lockdown: Celebrating Learning Disability Awareness Week

Learning Disability Awareness Week is from Monday, 15 to Friday, 19 June. The theme of the week this year is the importance of friendships during lockdown.

Due to Coronavirus, we are all currently living with social distancing and lockdown procedures. This means that many people with a learning disability are feeling isolated and often unable to see their friends and families, or take part in their normal, daily activities.

It is known that people with a learning disability are more likely to experience high levels of loneliness and social isolation and that will only have been made worse due to these unprecedented times.

KCHFT’s Learning Disability Service has been supporting clients and service users throughout the lockdown with their health needs and has been seeing first-hand the impact this has been having on people with a learning disability.

Matt Dodwell, Head of Learning Disabilities, said: “Everyone in the Adult Learning Disability Service gets very excited about this time of year and last year was a great success.

“This year, we will continue with highlighting the inequalities and discrimination people with a learning disability still face, the importance of reasonable adjustments, raising awareness and reaching out, but absolutely celebrating the wonderful lives of people with learning disabilities we are privileged to support.

“Both Mark and I as joint heads of service are just so proud of the work that the team do – but have been so blown away by how the team and the trust has made sure those people who were most vulnerable were kept as safe as possible, with people going above and beyond – creating virtual discharge and intensive support teams.

“I also couldn’t be more proud of the work the trust has done to become an accessible employer. Working with Kent Supported Employment, the trust has gone from employing one person with a learning disability to more than 20, and I hope many more to come. This has also been recognised with the trust becoming a finalist in this year’s Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative awards.”

The Royal Mencap Society has released guidance, information and activities for people with a learning disability to celebrate the awareness week. You can read this here.

To mark the week, the trust has a range of activities planned for colleagues, along with some great videos and stories to share: