Learning Disability Week will take place from 14 to 20 May 2018.
Michael McEwan speaks to Linda Mitchell from the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) about the week's activities.
MM - Michael McEwan
LM - Linda Mitchell
MM On this podcast we hear about this year's Learning Disability week. Learning Disability week takes place between the 14th to the 20th of May and the theme for this years Learning Disability week is My Generation. We went along to the Scottish Commission for Learning Disabilities to find out more where we spoke to Linda Mitchell. Linda is a partnership and development manager of the Scottish Commission for Learning Disabilities. Can you tell us Linda, why do we have Learning Disability week?
LM Well Michael, Learning Disability week is one week in the year where we could get a real chance and opportunity to raise awareness around learning disability. It gives us an opportunity to engage and talk to lots of people across Scotland and to support people to get involved in raising awareness as well. Learning Disability week in Scotland happens every May and this year it is the week of the 14th to the 20th of May. We have a different theme every year and this year, because it is year of young people in Scotland, our theme for Learning Disability week is My Generation and the reason that we've chosen My Generation is because we work with young people and work alongside people of all generations, young, middle aged and old so we felt if we themed the week as My Generation and we linked some activities to that it would help to include everybody.
MM So, who came up with the theme My Generation?
LM Well, we spoke to young people with a learning disability and we spoke to other groups of people with a learning disability to review last years Learning Disability week and they had some great ideas about what we should do this year and one of our colleagues in the SCLD office suggested My Generation as a way of including everybody. The people that we spoke to thought that was a great idea as well and it's really taken off.
MM So, when do you start working on ... I know Learning Disability week, it's only on for a week but it's got more and more to it than meets the eye so, when do you start working on the week?
LM We start working on the week as soon as we get this year's week out of the way. We look back on what worked, you know, and we talk to people who were involved as part of the week and get their thoughts as well and then that starts the planning process for next year.
MM You get different people or different organisations round the table speaking about what they want to see and what they want to do in the week?
MM And that's where the theme comes from?
LM That's where the ... it helps us to decide the theme, it also helps us to decide what's going to go in the Get Involved pack. So, an example this year ... so, the Get Involved pack is a free pack that you can ask SCLD for. You can phone us or email us and I'm sure I'll get those addresses at the end of this Michael but contact us here at SCLD and we will send out a Get Involved pack so, the Get Involved pack is full of fun things that can help individuals and organisations to take part in Learning Disability week. So, it has things like posters and badges and stickers and this year it has something called Show and Tell and Show and Tell links to the My Generation theme so we're asking people to ... we give them a little board to hold up for Show and Tell and we want people to think about something that was really, really important to them when they were younger. So, you can do this if you're 8 years old, 16, 42, 82 you know everybody can remember hopefully when they were young and some of the things that were important to you when you were younger so, we've had some good things happening around that. Nicola Sturgeon has taken part in Show and Tell and that will be going out just at the beginning of May, Cameron in the SCLD office has done his Show and Tell and my Show and Tell if I were to be asked, I would show Jackie magazine and that probably gives an idea of how old I am because Jackie magazine cost 5 pence, so, it was in the 70's when I was young.
MM Oh right okay, no bother.
LM So, you kind of get the idea, you know, it's what ever was important to you when you were younger, and it just helps people to chat and promotes discussion and you can have some fun and you can also guess how old people are probably from whatever their Show and Tell object happens to be.
MM Oh right, okay. In terms of the week, what's going to be happening on the week if you can just give us a kind of overview of what's on?
LM So, all across Scotland people do a whole variety of things for Learning Disability week and one of the things that SCLD is doing, is we have on our website a link and we're asking people to tell us ... share their plans, tell us what you're doing for Learning Disability week and we will populate that and you can pop onto the website and see all the great stuff that's happening across Scotland in your particular area so if you're in the Highlands, or in Dumfries, or wherever you happen to be there'll be something probably happening in your area. So, we would encourage anybody out there who's planning an event or just doing something or taking part in Show and Tell, send it in to us and we'll get a bit of a campaign going on that.
MM Is there a lot of people signed up already?
LM Yeah, we've had a fair bit of interest so far, so, we're just beginning to get all of that populated, and in the run up over the next couple of weeks we're anticipating that that will get much, much busier.
MM Do you find that from year to year Learning Disability is getting more popular?
LM I think so Michael, certainly from when we do our sort of review of Learning Disability week just in terms of how many people we've reached and engaged with and we look at the activities that are happening, year on year it's certainly building. So, this is the third year that Scotland's had its own specific Learning Disability week and year on year that's growing and we're reaching more people and hearing about all the great stuff that people are involved with across Scotland and what's working and sometimes what's not as well.
MM Tell us about the Learning Disability Awards, is this the second year it's been running?
LM So, this is the second Learning Disability Awards in Scotland and we run a nomination process for the awards. This year, we had 8 awards categories and we had 176 nominations across all 8 categories which was really great so, that tells us again that people are really, really interested and are really keen to nominate people with a learning disability for whatever area is of interest, be that creative, be it sport, be it a community champion, the award categories • hopefully there's something there to suit everybody. We go through a very robust judging process because obviously if you've nominated somebody, you think that person is really worthy of a nomination and of being recognised. So, we have a robust judging process and each award category is judged by 4 judges, all our panels include somebody with a learning disability as well which is really, really important and the judging panels have the very, very difficult decision to reach 2 finalists for each award category. The culmination of that process is that we have 16 finalists that we will be celebrating with on Friday the 18th of May, is the actual awards ceremony this year in Edinburgh. We will share all of that information, because there will be great photographs on the night. Each finalist has a short video clip to bring their story and their nomination to life and the following Monday all of that will be on SCLD's website so that we can share those great stories as widely as we can, and we'll also have a feature in the Daily Record the week after Learning Disability week, so you can share what's happening there as well.
MM I think it's a great idea for Learning Disability week or else any other awareness weeks to have an awards because I don't think we celebrate the success of disabled people a lot.
LM Absolutely and I think that's exactly it and you've taken the words out my mouth, Michael, it is about celebrating success and it's giving a platform to people with learning disabilities to do exactly that. To celebrate success be that big or small because one person's success can be different from another, but it is a huge night of celebration, a chance for people to get dressed up and really have a great time and be recognised in their own right for the huge achievements that people are doing.
MM And what's the feedback been like from, not only the award ceremony but also the actual week, what's like the feedback been like?
LM The people who get the Get Involved pack, we also ask folks to come back to us and let us know what they're doing for Learning Disability week and then of course when we do the review we are asking and consulting with people about what's working in the pack and what's not and then that helps us to plan for next year so, one of the great examples of that this year was, many people said to us we should have a mascot for Learning Disability week and we've taken that on board and so, we've run a competition - a mascot design competition, this year as well for Learning Disability week.
MM Yeah, I saw that on your website, yeah.
LM Yeah, and we had 53 nominations for the mascot competition or 53 applicants who had wonderful mascot ideas and designs and we're just about to get back to the overall winner for that and then over the course of the next year we will work on that design and work that up into a mascot for the week so, it's all evolving and every year gets bigger and better and hopefully we reach more people and more people get involved.
MM Well, good luck for the week and thanks for talking to us.
LM Thank you Michael.