We all have the same rights, and nobody should ever be discriminated against because of their age, gender, sexuality, marital status, ethnicity, ability, choice of language or political or religious beliefs. The Stigma Strategy is a great example of a schools based project in Conwy that’s been working to promote equality and rights for people with Learning Disability.
In 2006 the Learning Disability Implementation Advisory Group (LDIAG) developed a statement on Policy and Practice stating that people with a learning disability want to have the same rights as anyone else of the same age. Over recent years it has been acknowledged that people are often subjected to anti-social behaviour and crime.
Conwy Connect held a day to explore people’s experiences of harassment and bullying. 80% were aware of the different types of bullying and were able to give examples of each type.
Participants recorded that they had experienced bullying in a variety of public settings and some said they were victims of bullying in their own homes.
Bullies could be anyone from strangers in the street, children, able bodied people, public servants and even their own families.
As a result of this work a Reducing Stigma Strategy was developed, and refreshed during 2012/13. A DVD highlighting the stigma people with learning disabilities face on a day to day basis was produced in partnership with a service user production team, TAPE and WIRED (Conwy Advocacy Service). In April 2013 Conwy Connect’s Engagement Co-ordinator worked with the service user team to raise awareness of stigma with various groups, including elected members, schools, colleges, Arriva Buses.
Sessions for school councils have been well received and led to sessions for whole assemblies. Arriva buses introduced the DVD as part of their induction and annual training programmes. In partnership with Arriva and North Wales Police a poster campaign was launched. Coleg Llandrillo has shown the DVD to Social Inequality students and A Level students.
Throughout the process service users have been empowered to take a lead in saying how they want the strategy to develop and in the practical activities of contacting organisations, booking, arranging and delivering the awareness raising sessions.
Groups participating in the awareness sessions have fed back that the DVD has been extremely powerful in increasing their understanding of what people with learning disabilities face on a day to day basis.
What difference has it made?
The following chart was taken from the evaluation sheets given out at a college
The following comments were made on the evaluation forms from the same viewing.
The service user production team that have been involved with the Reducing Stigma Strategy have gone from strength to strength. They are extremely proud of the work they are doing and in a short time have grown in confidence. They now deliver the awareness session with little support from the Engagement Co-ordinator, and have drive and passion when teaching others about the Stigmas that they face.