Elizabeth Archer, National Strategic Lead for Children and Young People at learning disability charity Mencap, tells us more about the organisation’s Changemakers project and how you can get involved in helping young people with learning disabilities make change in their community…
This time last year, Mencap launched its groundbreaking Changemakers project, funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund. The first national project of its kind, Changemakers asked young people with a learning disability to identify what they wanted to change in their community and to make this change a reality by being supported to design, develop and lead new local volunteering projects.
A total of 53 community impact projects have taken place across England, involving 937 young volunteers with a learning disability. We’ve seen some fantastic projects come to life, ranging from a campaign for better job opportunities for young people with a learning disability in Liverpool, which was presented to the Disability Minister Esther McVey, to teenagers in Hackney holding the first ever club night for young people with a learning disability in the area.
From our work on the Changemakers project, Mencap has developed a best practice guide, called Community Changemakers, which will help professionals and organisations to put young people with learning disabilities in charge of making the changes they want to see in their community.
We will be launching our guide on Wednesday 17 April at the stunning RSA Vaults in London. Immediately before the launch, Mencap and the Making Ourselves Heard Network will be hosting a number of free seminars for professionals, which will explore best practice in participation with young people with disabilities.
Specialist practitioners will present their findings on how to ensure positive outcomes for young people with a disability through supporting them to get their voices heard. The seminars will enable professionals to engage with young people with a learning disability, who will be available to talk about what works best for them, and network with other professionals in the field.
The seminars will run from 10am in the morning and will be repeated in the afternoon. You can book your place by contacting Sarah Hawkins at Mencap on firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7696 5593, or online at www.mencap.org.uk/changemakers/best-practice-participation-young-people-disabilities.
We look forward to seeing you there!