Mencap Cymru and Cardiff law students launch toolkit

10 September 2015

Mentor Cymru

Toolkits will help adults with learning disabilities navigate services

A series of new guides aimed at helping adults with a learning disability and their carers access health and social care services has today (8 Sept) been launched by Mencap Cymru in conjunction with Cardiff University’s School of Law.

Jointly developed by law students, academics and Mencap Cymru, the toolkits aim to empower the carers and families of adults with learning disabilities and help them navigate their options to access services to which they are entitled.

The toolkits, which will be launched at an event today at the National Assembly for Wales, were developed from a recognition that carers are often overwhelmed by the breadth and complexity of the framework for accessing services.

The guides will be used by Mencap Cymru’s Regional Officers, to support their work assisting people with a learning disability and their carers to access the services to which they are legally entitled.

It will provide a one-stop-shop for information relating to health and social care services, including the duty and obligations of local authorities and health boards, the legal framework governing the challenging of decisions taken by these bodies, and future legal changes in the pipeline.

Services might include assessments to which adults with a disability are entitled, or support with personal care and help at home such as aids and adaptations, or financial assistance.

The project is part of a network of community engagement initiatives run by the School of Law to help the community in which it operates, while at the same time offering students the opportunity to develop their legal experience while working on practical, real-world activities (see: http://www.law.cf.ac.uk/probono/) .

Jason Tucker, from Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics, said: “The project provided students with a great opportunity to develop their employability skills, whilst gaining an insight into the vital work carried out by third sector organisations.  We hope to be able to develop the project over three more years with Welsh Government funding.”

Wayne Crocker, Director of Mencap Cymru, added: Supporting people to take control of the services they need to live fulfilled and independent lives is central to our work as Mencap Cymru. The project with Cardiff Law School will give people with a learning disability and those who support them the confidence and knowledge to tackle inequality and poor access to services. I am particularly pleased that student volunteers at Cardiff University have become more aware of the specific needs of people with a learning disability and their carers through their involvement in the tool kits.