A network to tackle loneliness and social isolation of people with a learning disability in Wales.

A large group of people

Learning Disability Wales wants people with a learning disability to have the best chances to be connected to people and their communities.

We have set up a new network called Connections Cymru. We want people  who are interested in tackling the issues that create loneliness and isolation to join the network across Wales.  We believe we are stronger if we work together.

The network will:

  • Seek and share a greater understanding of problems of loneliness and social isolation
  • Share good practice on reducing loneliness and social isolation.
  • Create links between policy and practice.

 

Click here to sign up to the network

 

Before COVID-19 we know that Wales was not doing as well as it should in terms of reducing loneliness and social isolation for people with a learning disability. The pandemic has created greater problems but has also  offered creative solutions. We will need to be innovative and bold in new approaches.

The network will bring together passionate and knowledgeable people who share the common goal of reducing loneliness and social isolation for people with a learning disability in Wales.

Learning Disability Wales’s 5-year strategy outlines that ‘We want Wales to be the best country in the world for people with a learning disability to live, learn and work.’

The network will contribute to the priorities in our strategy to tackle issues of loneliness and isolation for children and adults with a learning disability.

  • Health and well-being – Being healthy and happy
  • Employment – Being able to contribute to life in Wales
  • Education – Growing and learning in an inclusive Wales

 

What we know

We know that people with a learning disability often experience loneliness and isolation. In January 2016 Mencap published research on this issue and the headline findings are :

  • People with a learning disability name mostly paid staff if you ask who their friends are.
  • 47% of people with a learning disability spend most of their time at
  • 64% do not see their friends.
  • 1 in 3 people with a learning disability spend less than an hour outside their homes on a Saturday.
  • 1 in 3 are worried about being bullied outside of their home.
  • 39% of people with a learning disability take part in a social activity less than once a month.

In 2019 Mencap found that “In a recent survey of people with a learning disability 24% said they felt lonely ‘a lot’. This compares to just 3.4% of the general population who said they felt lonely ‘often or always’. ”

Welsh Government published Connected Communities in 2020 and highlighted that the role of the Third Sector as:

“to help build resilience and well-being at individual and community level through awareness raising, advice and support and service delivery, especially for ‘seldom heard’ groups (i.e. those who do not feel comfortable approaching public services).”

 

Who the network is for

  • Anyone with a learning disability
  • Support providers / social care providers
  • Health providers
  • Local authorities
  • Housing organisations
  • Family carers
  • Third sector organisations
  • Self-Advocacy organisations.

The network will meet 2 times a year and will share news, information, and updates to its members throughout the year.

 

Click here to sign up to the network