Transcript: Learning Disability Week 2014

Michael McEwan of Able Radio talks to Jan Murdoch of SCLD about what the week has in store.

Podcast Episode: Learning Disability Week 2014

Category: Disability 



What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

MM - Michael McEwan
JM - Jan Murdoch

MM You are listening to and we are here with Jan Murdoch, Head of Corporate Affairs at the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disabilities, and Jan is going to be speaking to us about Learning Disability Week. Now before we speak about Learning Disability Week, can you tell us what is Learning Disability Week all about?

JM It’s a week to bring attention to the issues that are facing people with disabilities and their families, so it’s a change to think about what is happening locally or nationally and make a bit of a noise about it and to hopefully get some attention from people right across Scotland around the issues that are affecting people and their families.

MM So does this happen every year?

JM It does happen every year. This year we have mixed it up a little bit because it is not actually happening in June, which is when it normally … Learning Disability Week normally takes place in June. This year it’s taking placed between 19th and 25th May, and that is partly because we have decided to focus on the Independence Referendum debate for this year, and we thought that gave us more time to talk about the issues that people would be interested in around the independence debate and making up their mind for the referendum in September.

MM So basically every year you have a theme - you told us about your theme there, about the referendum debate - can you like expand on that?

JM Yes, of course, so it’s actually ‘Scotland’s Future is Our Future’ - so part of that is looking at the information that people with learning disabilities need, and their families need, to make their mind up about how they are going to vote in the referendum. It’s about encouraging people to participate in the referendum as well, it’s about finding out about what issues people with learning disabilities and their families will use to make their mind up about it. So we have been doing an online survey through the SCLD website - we were asking people about what are their big concerns? What would make them vote either way? And this is not about providing information on voting yes or voting no - it’s about making sure people know that it is happening - it is about making sure people know where to get information about voting, and it’s about finding out what is important to them in terms of making up their mind about how they are going to vote.

MM So that’s the theme this year - what is on the agenda for this year? What events are happening?

JM There is a mixture of things happening - because it’s ‘Scotland’s Future is Our Future’, as I say, some of it is going to be about the independence debate, but some of it is going to be more generally about how we can encourage people with learning disabilities to have a voice in Scotland’s future regardless of what the outcome of the referendum is going to be. So there is going to be a few different things happening. We are going to have, on the SCLD website we are going to have a blog a day and we will look at different issues related to either participating in the referendum - so on the first day we are going to talk about how, when you produce information in accessible formats, you can actually increase the amount of people who come along, people with learning disabilities who will actually take part in the electoral system, which is really important for people to have their say.

On Tuesday we are going to be doing some work around a project that has been operating in Edinburgh and run by BEMAS, which is the Black and Ethnic Minority Advisory Service, which the action group run, and that has been working with young people with learning disabilities who are from black minority ethnic communities. And they have been looking at how young people from those communities can be supported well at transition phase in their life. So kind of that move from school to adult services. So that is really important - how do we involve people with learning disabilities who are from more marginalised parts of our society? How can we involve them in Scotland’s future? So Tuesday is going to be about that.

And we are going to be talking about BEMAS’s Transitions Project, and also they have got a self-assessment tool that organisations can use, so we are going to be highlighting that work on the Tuesday. Wednesday we are going to feature the work of our Human Rights Group - so SCLD have been working with a group of adults with learning disabilities for quite some time now, about a year now, around writing a report on the human rights of people with learning disabilities and how they can influence the United Nations Charter for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. So on the Wednesday we are going to launch their report and we are going to do lots of online social media activity around that report, because social media is a really good place to find people who are really passionate about human rights, so we are going to be doing a lot of Twitter and social media activity on the Wednesday. And we hope that we will have one of the Human Rights Group in that day as well and we will get them to talk a little bit about the work they have been doing and why they think human rights is such an important issue for people with learning disabilities to know about. On the Thursday, Learning Disability Alliance Scotland - we have given them the use of the room for the day and they are going to facilitate one of their independence referendum workshops that day - so that is going to be open to some people to come along and participate in that, which is great.

And then probably, going in to the weekend it is going to be more online again - maybe have a guest blog day on the Friday where people can give us their ideas around how they want to influence Scotland’s future - but there is not a particular event on that day, but we will do some stuff around what has happened across the week. That’s just what SCLD are doing - Enable Scotland have been working with us closely on Learning Disability Week this year and it also coincides with their 60th anniversary this year - so they are doing a lot of activity that week themselves.

They have got their new Enable tartan which is going on tour, so it’s the Tartan on Tour, and they are having a parliamentary reception as well, and they are also … Jackie Baillie who is the Chair of the … or the Convenor I should say, of the cross-party group on Learning Disabilities - she is introducing a members debate in parliament as well, and they will be doing some social media activity that week too.

MM So you were telling us about all the events - how can people book onto these events?

JM Okay, for the things that SCLD is involved in, like the SCLD talks about people with learning disabilities from BME communities and the independence referendum workshop that LDAS are going to run in here - people can go onto our website - we will be setting up a page on there - there is a Learning Disability Week page on the SCLD website - so that is how people can get either access to know what is going on and also to book onto an event if they want to come along. And I would advise people to do that, because we don’t have a lot of space, so we have probably got to think about the numbers quite carefully for both those events. So if people are interested, just get in touch with us - phone us, email us, get in touch.

MM You mentioned about the phone and the email - can you give us the phone number and the website address for SCLD?

JM Absolutely, so to get in touch with SCLD you can go onto our website You can follow us on Twitter @scldnews. We also have a Facebook page, so Facebook/ScotConsort. You can phone us 0141 559 5720, or if you particularly want to know about Learning Disability Week you can email us

MM And can you give us the dates again for Learning Disability Week?

JM Sure, no problem at all -19th to 25th May.

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