The Working Together with Parents Network (WTPN) is a
collaboration between the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies
at the University of Bristol, Learning Disability Wales, and the
Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD).
The three-year, £462,000 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
will enable the Network to ensure that the perspectives, needs and
rights of parents with learning difficulties are routinely
reflected in all relevant family policies, practices and
It will also equip WTPN national and regional groups to become a
key resource for other professionals and able to challenge unfair
policies and practices locally.
Beth Tarleton, from the Norah Fry Centre for Disability
Studies, said: "Parents with learning difficulties and their
children experience significant discrimination and disadvantage.
While there is established positive practice in supporting these
parents, provision is still poor.
"The good practice that exists is threatened by the current
financial climate, the failure by policy makers to consider these
parents' needs and by professionals' lack of awareness of parents'
support needs. We are therefore extremely grateful to the Esmée
Fairbairn Foundation for this grant, which will allow us to
continue to bring about positive change for parents with learning
difficulties and their families."
The WTPN aims to become the primary source of UK expertise on
matters relating to parents with learning difficulties.
The grant will help fund policy officers to raise awareness of
the impact national strategy and policies have on parents with
learning difficulties and the professionals who work with them, and
to enable them to influence change where needed.
Chris Creegan, Chief Executive of the Scottish Commission for
Learning Disability (SCLD), said: "We are very excited about the
opportunities created by this funding. We have run the WTPN in
Scotland since 2007. This funding will enable us to
consolidate the network across Scotland and work with partners in
England and Wales to build an evidence base about what works and
drive good practice.
"The funding enables us to bring in dedicated policy expertise
to support the development of local and national policy relating to
families where parents have a learning disability.
"Many of these parents struggle to get the information and the
support they need to become effective parents. We're eager to
build on the great work that's been accomplished in this area so
far, including the Scottish Good Practice Guidelines and the Guide
to Supported Parenting that SCLD have produced on behalf of the
Network. These publications offer practical recommendations about
delivering the kind of support that parents need."
Jim Crowe, from For Learning Disability Wales, added: "We are
really excited by the opportunities this project will give. Parents
with learning difficulties face many challenges and need
professionals who fully understand and can support them. The
project will help professionals make a positive difference for
parents with learning difficulties."
Learning Disability Wales will work together with Conwy Connect
in the North and Vale People First in the South to bring together
Parents who have a learning disability to inform the project.