Stay Up Late writes to all local authority Adult Social Care Directors
As lockdown restrictions ease and venues begin reopening a major lobbying campaign has been launched by learning disability charity Stay Up Late. The campaign seeks to end institutionalised practices and inflexible support provision that leaves far too many adults with a learning disability unable to enjoy the things they want to do.
The charity has written to directors of social care across the country calling on them to ensure all contracts with support providers make clear that they must operate flexible provision.
The letter, written with input from the charity’s team of Stay Up Late Ambassadors who all have a learning disability and/or autism, states:
“We know of some great support providers who have flexible rotas meaning that people with learning disabilities can be supported to live the lives they choose – which of course includes the right to Stay Up Late and have a good social life too.
We know how important this is ourselves and makes us happy in our lives. Sadly though we see and hear of lots of examples of where support is inflexible. Before lockdown you could go to any club night for people with learning disabilities and watch the dance floor empty at 9pm.”
The letter goes on to call for every local authority commissioning social care to become a ‘No Bedtimes Council’ and makes three key demands:
- Talk to your commissioning teams and change all contracts so they have a clear expectation that rotas will be flexible to allow people to stay out late.
- Tell us if you already do this anyway
- If you can’t do this please tell us why so we can understand better what the problems are
Jason O’Neill, one of the charity’s Ambassadors, commented:
“I think we need to help people with a disability or a learning disability to stay up late and go to gigs. For example, going to a pub or a music concert to have fun, just like other people do.”
Shannara Woodward, another Ambassador with the charity, added:
“I want councils around the UK to listen to us and get involved. Once a council finds out about it and they start work then it’s like a domino effect.”
Stay Up Late is also urging members of the public to lobby their own local councillors supporting this call. People can get in touch directly with their own local representatives via the charity’s #NoBedtimes campaign page here: https://stayuplate.org/the-stay-up-late-campaign/no-bedtimes-campaign/
The letter has been sent to all Directors of Social Care in local authorities in England. Stay Up Late will be working closely with colleagues in Scotland and Wales to pursue similar approaches with the relevant local authorities there.