Saturday, 13 April 2024
Saturday, 13 April 2024

Hft’s vision for empowering learning disabled adults

OVER 60% of adults surveyed in the UK believe the political agenda does not prioritise the needs of learning disabled adults, while ‘a lack of funding’ and ‘unchanging attitudes among the public’ are preventing learning disabled people from living the best life possible.

This is according to a survey conducted among UK adults by Opinium, on behalf of the learning disability charity, Hft, which today launches its new long-term strategy, ‘Hft 2033: Your life. Your way.’

As Hft looks to its future, the strategy seeks to put an independent life in the reach of learning disabled adults, and to put them and social care as a whole back on the agenda after over a decade of Government underfunding, the more recent cost of living crisis and the social care recruitment crisis.

Learning disabled adults want, and deserve, to lead independent lives, full of choice as to where they live, work and socialise to live their best lives by 2033. But as Local Authority funding becomes increasingly stretched to breaking point, Hft has set out its roadmap to ensure that learning disabled adults are not forgotten and shut out from the society we all share.

Steve Veevers, CEO of Hft said:

“Today we launch Hft 2033: Your life. Your way. This new long-term strategy has been developed after extensive co-production with representatives from all our audiences, including the people we support and our colleagues. They clearly demonstrated a desire for equity and for people to have respect for their contribution to their communities. They also wanted to have a choice as to where and with whom they live, access to employment opportunities, and more control over how they lead their everyday lives.

“In 1962, when the first group of visionary parents set up Hft, there were limited opportunities available for learning disabled people when they reached adulthood. But that group of parents wanted to ensure their children would continue to fulfil their potential after leaving school, so they set up Hft’s first service.

“We have come a long way since then, but our research shows we still have a long way to go to ensure that learning disabled adults continue to be supported to thrive in their communities. We know life can be complicated for everybody. However, learning disabled people often face additional hurdles. Some are stopped from working towards their dreams and aspirations. Many can’t live where they choose, or with whom they choose. Some don’t get to decide what they do for work. Others are prevented from trying new hobbies and making choices they want to make.

“An independent life is out of reach for many and we aim to hold on to the pioneering spirit of our founding families to change this.”

“We believe in a different world, not in a different individual. A world where care is about so much more than survival. We want learning disabled people to thrive and we’re calling on everyone to be a learning disability ally, to stand shoulder to shoulder with us, every person we support, and the 1.5million learning disabled adults in the UK today.”

To enable Hft to achieve its ambitious strategy, it has also refreshed its brand and introduced a new strapline, Learning Disability Allies, to help the charity be clearer about who it is and what it does, and reach more people – which is now more important than ever.

Steve explained:

“In the face of a perfect storm of funding pressures facing social care providers, our future strategy is underpinned by a focus on financial sustainability.

“We know we won’t be able to achieve our vision on our own and we want to work alongside learning disabled people, their families and the wider sector to create a different future. We are encouraged to see that 50% of the public in the Opinium survey said they had done something in the last 12 months that made them an ally of learning disabled people. If we can change this figure to 100%, we will have made major inroads to a more inclusive society, and to realising our vision of a future where learning disabled people can live the best life possible.”

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