Grant supports people with learning disabilities to make their own fire safety video

hft_logoHft, the learning disabilities charity, have been awarded a Big Lottery Fund to make a fire safety video aimed at and created by the people they support.

The video will be a powerful learning tool for people with learning disabilities to give them the confidence to deal with an emergency situation and remain calm, in a way they can understand.

Nearly £3000 has been awarded to the charity’s national involvement forum ‘Voices To Be Heard’ which is a council made up of people with learning disabilities who inform decision making at the organisation.

Forum members will be involved in all stages of the process. Six of the people we support will be filmed as actors over three days, with help from Kent Fire Brigade.

Louise Bolton, Learning and Development Specialist working beside ‘Voices To Be Heard’ said: “Some fire safety videos are frightening, confusing and show unfamiliar people and places using puzzling terminology and language.”

“People with learning disabilities often feel excluded from decisions that affect their lives. The process of coming together to film the video will provide an opportunity to work together on an important and far-reaching practical project. This will generate a feeling of empowerment and greater confidence in their skills and abilities.”

‘Voices to Be Heard’ forum members are based all around the country. The group debate issues which affect them, and have helped shaped the services which are on offer locally and nationally.

Gemma Presneill, chairperson ‘Voices to Be Heard’ is looking forward to making the video, and creating more learning disability friendly resources:

She said: “We want to train others, and have worked hard on this so far and are looking forward to the filming. We hope to do another DVD about what it’s like to have epilepsy soon.”

The video will be shared throughout all of Hft’s services, which include over 450 different properties where people with learning disabilities live.

The charity intends to use the video to help all people with learning disabilities have access to this resource.

“We want to make that this video is accessible to everyone, to ensure that this Big Lottery Fund and the efforts of the people we support are maximised,” added Louise.

About Hft

Hft is a national charity providing local support for people with learning disabilities and their families. For more information on Hft please visit

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