In brief

Vaccinations start, plus oversights in official plans and film roles. Saba Salman reports

Two men in art workshop

Enduring scandal of ATU detention highlighted

Campaigners, activists and support providers have been shining a light on the scandal of assessment and treatment units (ATUs), in which 2,500 people are locked away.

A recent LDN London event, Spotlight On, focused on the abuse of autistic people and those with learning disabilities.

Chaired by Community Living writer Simon Jarrett, the speakers included activists and authors Alexis Quinn and Sara Ryan, journalist George Julian and researcher Amanda Topps.

The debate at the London Canal Museum highlighted how individuals are incarcerated far from home in ATUs, usually because there is no appropriate local support.

The 2015 government and NHS Transforming Care programme included a pledge to reduce numbers in ATUs by 50% by 2024, but targets have been missed. Five years ago, for example, there were 2,600 people in ATUs and, today, there are still 2,580.

LDN chief executive Gabby Machell said one action was essential: “Key to getting it right is to see and hear the person and their families.”

Celebrations to mark 40th anniversary

A year-long series of events are planned at Integrate – a long-time supporter of Community Living – to mark the charity’s 40th anniversary.

The organisation enables people aged 14 and in Lancashire and Greater Manchester to enjoy hobbies, find the right education or jobs and get decent housing.

In 1983, Integrate became the first body in the region to support adults to move from long-stay hospitals into their own homes.

The charity’s founding vision was of pioneering “a different way of supporting people”, with a belief that everyone has a right to be a valued in their community.

Events will be held from November. These will include good practice awards to highlight the successful support delivered by Integrate staff and will be organised in collaboration with the people they work with.

Prize for researcher columnist

Community Living columnist Shalim Ali has won the inaugural Alan Armstrong Memorial Prize.

Londoner Ali, a self-advocate, campaigner, researcher and DJ, received the accolade for the best presentation given by researchers with learning disabilities at an Open University conference.

News briefs

Get legal help any time

Social care legal agency CASCAIDr has launched a specialist advice and training service for care and support providers. CASCAIDr Trading spans private and public law rights, and offers advice on a retainer basis. It can advise on the law around care homes, supported living and using day services, as well as on local authority contractual issues.

King’s honour for dancer

DanceSyndrome founder Jen Blackwell was among those recognised in the first King’s birthday honours this summer. The Chorley-based dancer and charity founder won a British Empire Medal for services to disabled people. Blackwell, who has Down syndrome, set up DanceSyndrome with her mother, Sue, in 2009.

Family and friends portraits

WAVE for Change (We’re All Valued Equally) is holding a portrait exhibition to celebrate diverse families and friendships. The north London charity will display a range of images by photographer Kristina Varaksina at Alexandra Palace’s Creativity Pavilion over 16-22 October. Free tickets are available via the WAVE and Alexandra Palace websites.

Guide on making choices

An accessible book to help people ask the right questions about housing, money management and support among other issues is to be published early next year. Everyday Citizenship, by activists Wendy Perez, a self-advocate, and Simon Duffy, a writer, will be published by Red Press. It is an update of their Keys to Citizenship book, first published in 2006.

What’s on our radar

News of a fresh Covid variant and concerns over autumn flu led the UK Health Security Agency to bring forward vaccinations. Flu and Covid vaccinations were due to start from October but, to protect the “most vulnerable”, adults living in care homes and those most at risk were invited for jabs from early September.

The absence of proposals related to learning disabled adults in the government’s Disability Action Plan was “a glaring oversight”, support provider Hft said. Suggestions in the document include increasing awareness and use of assistive technology.

The government also came under fire from experts who criticised it for ignoring disabled people’s rights. The Equality and Human Rights Commission said ministers failed to follow United Nations recommendations.It was also criticised for pulling out of a subsequent United Nations hearing in Geneva, saying it would meet officials in March 2024 instead.

Huge opposition to the rail industry’s bid to close most ticket offices in England has led to the consultation on this being extended. There were 680,000 replies. Watchdogs Transport Focus and London Travelwatch have until the end of October to consider these replies
and make a formal response regarding the proposals.

Actor Tommy Jessop and his film-maker sibling Will sparked positive headlines as they tackled disability representation in BBC documentary Tommy Jessop Goes to Hollywood. Jessop, who has Down syndrome, has featured in shows such as Line of Duty but says actors like him are underrepresented and never play the hero.