People with learning disabilities and autism attending Brandon Trust’s 100 Voices conference in Bristol on Saturday spoke out on personal safety issues affecting their lives.
More than 200 delegates from across the UK attended the event at the BAWA Centre in Filton, which saw those supported by the Bristol-based charity have their say and share experiences through speeches, role plays and presentations on topics including disability hate and mate crime, bullying, internet safety and doorstep scams.
Among those presenting were Peter Martin, 31, of Dursley, Gloucestershire, a member of Brandon Trust’s consultative committee and North User Forum, who has a learning disability and experienced problems when using public transport.
Peter said: “I got bullied on the bus and it had a bad impact on me. I think it is really important that we share these experiences with people and I hope it can help make a difference for others in the future.”
A main aim of the 100 Voices conference, now in its third year, is to give people with learning disabilities a voice and influence public opinion.
Guest speakers included disability rights campaigner and Brandon Trust ambassador Kaliya Franklin, Avon and Somerset Police chief inspector Steve Blackburn and Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie.
MP Charlotte Leslie said: “What is so impressive about the conference is that it makes a real difference in the outside world and people are listening. Personal safety is particularly important for the disabled who are vulnerable and it is a problem we really need to tackle.”
Brandon Trust chief executive Lucy Hurst-Brown said: “Brandon Trust need to raise awareness of these issues so we can make places safer for people with learning disabilities.
“As with previous conferences, we will take this matter forward to try to bring about positive changes in society.”
Brandon Trust is a Bristol-based UK charity working throughout the South West of England and in London, supporting approximately 1,200 people with learning disabilities and autism to live the lives they choose. Find out more about the charity’s work at www.brandontrust.org