Event held to mark Learning Disability Week

A group of five people hold up leaflets that have an image of a hand on them

Published: Monday, 22nd May 2017

Borderers with a learning disability held an event in Galashiels to reflect on how their lives have changed since the millennium and plan for the future.

The event took place during Learning Disability Week (15-22 May) which is held annually to highlight the positive contribution that people with a learning disability make to their local communities. This year the theme was ‘Looking back, thinking forward’ and focused on how changes to government policy have affected the lives of people with a learning disability and their family carers.

Launch of Local Citizen Panels welcome pack

Members of the five Local Citizens Panels gave presentations on their achievements over the previous year. They also:

  • outlined their aims for the next 12 months 
  • unveiled their new welcome pack, a toolkit designed to help new members hit the ground running in their new role
  • launched a recruitment drive to attract new members.

Callum McDonald (Tweeddale Chair), Jennifer Freedman (Galashiels and Selkirk Chair), Martin Aitchison (Berwickshire Chair), Neil Willis (Hawick and Jedburgh Chair) and Brian Boardman (Kelso and Coldstream Vice Chair)

“We have wanted a welcome pack for some time now to help us explain what the Panels are, how they work and who the members are. We are always keen to welcome new members and felt that a welcome pack would be a useful way of explaining to them why they should join us and all the benefits they would get out of it.

“It was a lot of work to create the packs but we are delighted with how they have turned out, especially with our new logo on the front cover. We would like to thank all the people who took part in the project for their hard work and hope that everyone who gets a copy will be as pleased with them as we are.”

Making the welcome pack accessible

The pack was developed with support from the Easy-Read Group who made sure that the information it contains is fully accessible for people with a learning disability.

Helen Rodger, Easy-Read group member, Tweeddale

 “When we were asked to look at the packs, we had a number of ideas that would help to improve them. The print needed to be bigger and there was some complicated jargon that had to be put into simpler words.

“More pictures were needed to help people understand what the words were saying. It was also important to have pictures of all the Panel chairs. We think they have turned out very well and hope that people will find them useful.”

Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership spokesperson

“This annual event continues to go from strength to strength, and is clear evidence of the commitment that everyone involved has towards making sure that the voices of people with a learning disability and family carers are heard, and that their views are both respected and taken into account.

“The Panels have proven themselves to be an effective way of achieving this goal and they should be extremely proud of everything they have accomplished. The launch of the welcome pack is just one example of the way in which they are putting their ideas into action and we have no doubt that the packs will be extremely well received.

“As the Panel Chairs have said, they are always interested to hear from people who would like to find out more about their work. These are strong, purposeful groups, committed to making a positive difference to the lives of people with a learning disability in the Borders and we would encourage anyone who would like to know more to get in touch and find out how they could get involved.”

To find out more, contact the Learning Disability Service on 01896 840200.

More information

  • Images are available from our Flickr page.
  • Local Citizens Panels (LCPs) were set up in 2014 to give people with a learning disability and their family carers a real voice in the planning and delivery of learning disability services in the Scottish Borders. There are currently five Panels covering Berwickshire, Kelso and Coldstream, Hawick and Jedburgh, Galashiels and Selkirk and Tweeddale with a total membership of 66. They are consulted on local and national strategies affecting learning disability services, but they are also becoming influential community activists, helping to improve services and facilities for people with a learning disability in their own communities.