Learning Disability Wales promotes the right of people with a
learning disability to experience a full, stimulating and varied
independent life and to enjoy all the advantages and
responsibilities of being a citizen. We work to ensure that the
voice of children, young people and adults with a learning
disability is heard and listened to.
We have acted as advocate, guardian, innovator, networker,
persuader, and watchdog since our creation in 1983, as the Standing
Conference of Voluntary Organisations for people with a mental
handicap in Wales (SCOVO).
We were created at the same time as the revolutionary All
Wales Mental Handicap Strategy was being written. In 1983, a
combination of very limited access to education, a series of abuse
scandals in mental handicap hospitals and an almost complete
absence of any community based services to support people with a
learning disability and their carers convinced civil servants in
the Welsh Office that radical action was necessary.
Working with a small group of dedicated campaigners, the Welsh
Secretary of State announced an all Wales Mental Handicap Strategy.
The Strategy required massive changes that were to have a
revolutionary impact unequalled in Europe. Three simple principles
People with a learning disability have the right to:
- a normal pattern of life in the community
- be treated as individuals
- to receive additional help and support from their community and
from professional services to help them maximise their potential as
The small group of campaigners who were influential in pressing
the case for a strategy recognised the need to develop a vibrant
third sector that had a strong voice at national level. Their
judgement was that it would act as a catalyst for change and ensure
that the strategy principles were translated into action.
We believe that the third sector has an important contribution
to make. It can play a vital role in helping people with a learning
disability speak up, in promoting the rights of family carers and
in providing creative, innovative and responsive services.
After debate with our members, we changed our name in 1993 to
Standing Conference of Voluntary Organisations for people with a
learning disability in Wales (SCOVO).
We were then re-titled and re-branded as the more user friendly
'Learning Disability Wales' in 2005.
We have remained true to our original purpose and continue to
act as a strong voice on behalf of our members.