Charity vows for fight for equality for learning disabled

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“Enable Scotland has been an essential partner for the Scottish Government"

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13th May 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A major charity marked its 65th birthday with a vow to continue campaigning for an equal society for every person with a learning disability.

At a reception at the Scottish Parliament, attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Enable Scotland celebrated over six decades since the night in April 1954 when five sets of parents held a meeting in Glasgow and formed the charity to help them fight for their children’s rights.

That charity would become Enable Scotland, and from humble beginnings set about changing the country for people who have a learning disability.

Around 120,000 have a learning disability in Scotland. According to the charity, many are lonely and isolated, are victims of bullying and hate crime, are unable to find work and have lower life expectancy than the general population.

A recent Scottish Government report found more than 700 people with complex needs are still in institutional placements far from home, and the experiences of pupils, parents and teachers show that more must be done to deliver the objectives of additional support for learning legislation to make our schools truly inclusive.

Theresa Shearer, the charity’s chief executive, said: “For 65 years, Enable Scotland has been breaking barriers – winning the right of children who have a learning disability to be educated, securing the closure of institutions and the right to self-directed support in the community of your choice, and campaigning against bullying and discrimination.

“We continue that work today, and through our strong partnerships, ongoing innovation and the continued backing of our members and supporters, I am confident we will be here for as long as people with learning disabilities need us to campaign for them and give them a voice. We will be here until every person with a learning disability lives the life they choose.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added: “Congratulations to Enable Scotland for its fantastic work enriching the lives of people living with learning disabilities across Scotland for the last 65 years.

“Enable Scotland has been an essential partner for the Scottish Government, helping to tackle inequalities and supporting the ambitions set out in our learning disability strategy for everyone in Scotland to live full, healthy and rewarding lives.”

The organisation has grown to be the country’s largest learning disability charity, with more than 5,000 members across 38 local branches throughout Scotland, plus a growing network of 28 ACE - Active Communities of Empowered - groups and 9 ACE youth groups.

It is also one of Scotland’s largest third sector social care providers, commissioned by local authorities across the country to deliver services to support people who have learning disabilities to live the life they choose.

Through a combination of its charitable, employment and social care services, Enable Scotland supports almost 3,000 people who have learning disabilities.