Improving Lives - Welsh Government launches new learning disability programme

Welsh Government have today launched a new programme to improve the lives of people with a learning disability in Wales.

Learning Disability Wales welcomes a new focus and commitment from Welsh Government to improving the lives of children and adults with a learning disability in Wales.

The Improving Lives Programme forms part of Welsh Government's Prosperity for All strategy, a single cross-cutting strategy to inform all decision-making, providing a framework for improved cross-government working and to improve the quality of people's lives.

Improving Lives will focus on improving services in five key areas:

  • early years - reducing adverse childhood experiences and improving the ability of parents with a learning disability to bring up their children
  • housing - new models of supported housing will be developed, helping people to live closer to their friends and families
  • social care - making sure everyone who needs it has a access to good quality care and support which is focused on their needs
  • health - through reasonable adjustments to mainstream services and access to specialist services when needed. To address health inequalities, making sure people with a learning disability receive the annual health checks they are entitled to and health boards ensure they meet the needs of people with a learning disability when in hospital
  • education, skills and employment - supporting young people to make the most of their potential, and when they become adults ensuring they have the right support to allow them to live successful lives, through providing targeted careers advice and making sure more people with a learning disability have paid jobs.

Martyn Jones, CEO of Learning Disability Wales commented:  

"We are particularly pleased to see there will be a focus across the life span as this will enable the appropriate support for children, families and carers right now and in the future. It is absolutely critical that we create a Wales that meets the needs of people with learning disabilities through the transition from child to adult and as they grow older. We must also remember that an ageing population also places additional challenges on carers.     

"The inclusion of a commitment to policy integration across the five key areas is crucial as this approach by Welsh Government has the potential to transform the way we design and deliver services and make a real difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities in Wales.  

"We are looking forward to working closely on the implementation of the 'Improving Lives Programme' with the Minister, Gwenda Thomas in her new role as Chair of Learning Disability Ministerial Advisory Group and Sophie Hinksman as Co-chair."

Learning Disability Wales annual conference

At 'All our Futures', Learning Disability Wales' annual conference in November, we will be exploring how we can contribute to making Improving Lives a success with our members and others, including the Minster and Children's Commissioner. At the conference we will look at how we can invest in the future and do things differently to achieve fairer and better outcomes for people with a learning disability

As lead partners on the Engage to Change project, a 5 year Lottery funded employment project, the Working Together with Parents Network, our Easy Read service and our many other areas of work, including our new Gig Buddies project, Learning Disability Wales is ideally placed to promote well-being and independent living.

Learning Disability Wales wants to work with Welsh Government and all other stakeholders to ensure people of all ages with a learning disability in Wales are able to contribute and benefit from the Prosperity for All strategy.