For the launch of Learning Disability Week 2019, Michael McEwan spoke to Libby Clement from Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD); James Morton, Bake Off finalist; and Jonathan McKinstry, a nominee in the 2018 Learning Disability Awards.
This year’s theme is ‘community’. Communities are at their best when everyone is active in their community, connected to people within their community, and feels included by their community.
Find out more about Learning Disability Week 2019.
MM - Michael McEwan
LC = Libby Clement
MM On this episode of Iriss.fm I went to find out about this year's Learning Disability Week, the launch of Learning Disability Week was held at Project Ability in Glasgow and the National Learning Disability Week takes place from Monday the 13th to Sunday the 19th of May 2019. On this podcast I spoke to the winner of the British Bake Off, James Morton and also one of the award nominees from the learning disability awards last year, Jonathon McKendry. Okay but first up we are going to hear from the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability, Libby Clement.
So, Libby can you tell us about your involvement in Learning Disability Week?
LC So, I am the digital communications officer at SCLD so, my involvement has been all the social media, all of the web pages you see on Learning Disability Week and the awards. I've also helped to put together the Get Involved pack, doing the designs and the branding and I've also, very excitingly, worked to develop Uno, which was from a mascot competition we ran as part of Learning Disability Week 2018. We ran a competition and Stephen Dickson, a gentleman from Glasgow who's very into art, he won the competition. He designed a unicorn and I have been working with Stephen and with Heedi Design and with the team at SCLD to work this up into a mascot and also coming up with a story for Uno and a name and all the kind of things that go along with that so, yeah it's been very fun.
MM And this is your first Learning Disability Week?
LC It's my first full one, I joined SCLD last April so, really in the thick of just before Learning Disability Week 2018 so, this is the first one I've had a real involvement in all the branding and the social media kind of running up to the week so, yeah.
MM If we concentrate on the theme of Learning Disability Week: The Community, how important is it for people with learning disabilities, whether that could be physical disabilities, get more involved and more active in the community instead of being, you know, that they can't do things and yeah.
LC I think that's a really important point. People with learning disabilities have not always been involved in their communities in fact even 10/20 years ago maybe, a lot of peoples experience with a learning disability was that they were perhaps in a long stay hospital or in some other kind of home situation like that which didn't let them kind of be in the community and be integrated and now we're seeing loads more people with learning disabilities kind of out and about in their communities, contributing, making a real difference through things like volunteering, like the shopping buddies that we recognise in the learning disability awards last year and you know it's really important for other people to recognise that the contribution people with learning disabilities make and also that we celebrate this as well so, that's why the theme this year is Community, Active, Connected, Included because yes, we know a lot of people with learning disabilities are involved in their communities, not everybody is though also not everyone else is aware of maybe how they could be involved so, that's why we want to raise awareness with our award categories which is why we're doing things like we've rebranded the award categories slightly to focus on things like creative communities so, what have you done creatively, whether it be art, drama, music, dancing in your community? The person with learning disabilities and indeed if you know somebody with learning disabilities who's done something creatively then recognise them.
MM So, we're at the launch today of Learning Disability Week, tell us what's involved today at the event?
LC Today so, today is our Communi-tea event which is to launch the Get Involved pack and to launch Learning Disability Week as well. So, there's been lots involved we've been playing Bingo, we've been playing tea leaf Pictionary, where you make the Pictionary pictures out of leaves, we've been doing a tea tray memory tease game, we've been eating lots of cake which a few members of the office including myself have been up baking last night, we had a recipe from James Morton, who was on The Great British Bake Off, which was like a banana and caramel banoffee cake which was really delicious, we've been putting Uno, the unicorn mascot, cake toppers on the cakes. Yeah, we've just been really kind of coming together as a community and showing other people, "Look, this is what the theme is, this is what we want you to do. We want you to get together this Learning Disability Week, just come together as a community and celebrate people with learning disabilities and just being part of a community in general."
MM Okay thank you.
So, we're now joined by Jonathan McKendry and Jonathan was one of the runners up ...
JM I was, yeah, yeah.
MM ... for Learning Disability Week so, first of all, well done.
JM Thank you.
MM And stuff. How did you get to know about the awards?
JM I was told by Elizabeth who's the kind of (... unclear) of Project Ability.
MM Yeah, from Project Ability. So, was it a painting or was it a ....?
JM Oh, it was a big oil canvas I did.
MM Okay, yeah.
JM If memory serves it was a bi Japanese cityscape.
MM And so, you went on, when you get nominated what happened, did you go along on the night to get a certificate or ...?
JM No, we went there, to Edinburgh to get it and my brother and my sister and we went there and it was a big award ceremony thing and you're given like a glass trophy award. It was funny because I didn't know what way to receive the award. I went in the wrong direction, I went right and it was like, there was no stairs, I was like, "Aghh." I had to walk back the way to get up there.
MM So, what do feel about Learning Disability Week, this year? Obviously, the feelings about communities, what would you like to see? Would you like to see more people with a learning disability getting into the community?
JM I'd like to see people with disabilities be acknowledged for what they can do, you know, we're all human beings, you know. I mean people with disabilities, when they have problems, you know, they have obstacles to overcome but they can still do things, they're still viable members of the community so, yeah.
MM Okay thank you.
So, James how did you get to know about the launch of Learning Disability Week?
JM This was an event that one of my friends invited to me, Kenneth Fleming who works for SCLD who's involved in producing Learning Disability Week and when I heard about it and I heard about the new theme of community, I just thought, "That's something I'd quite like to be involved with." and so I wrote a wee recipe and thought I'd come along today.
MM And what do you feel about the whole kind of like concept of people with disabilities and getting them involved in their communities?
JM I think it's an essential part of communities, I think just like the arguments for greater diversity in every aspect whether it be race, religion, gender, ability and disability you know you need people from all aspects to get a really rounded view and if you ignore a certain section of society, you know, you're not going to take advantage of all the great things and ideas and people you know from that part of society.
MM Now, you won British Bake Off a few years ago now, keeping with our disability theme, would you like to see more people with a disability or mental health issues in to that kind of field, like being a chef or stuff?
JM And even on Bake Off, I think that's a really important point. I mean a lot of people on Bake Off, a lot of my friends have mental health issues for example and they hide it very well or some of them do have whether it be a learning disability, mild things, for some people like dyslexia or dyspraxia and people might not notice and those people get to the final of The Great British Bake Off and are very successful chefs. I think, yeah, there's definitely room for more and for greater diversity and for television and producers to open up a bit to the idea of that. This year on Bake Off we saw, you know Briony who had a vey obvious physical disability and that was absolutely brilliant that she was on there and that given such a, I suppose, such a stage but I think yes, we can definitely do a lot more.
MM While I've got you here as well, James, I'll take the point to ask you about, you're saying about more people with diverse backgrounds being on tv, it was wonderful to see Britain's Got Talent, last year now, The Lost Voice Man won on that, what's your thoughts?
JM Yeah, Lost Voice Man, Lost Voice Guy?
MM Lost Voice Guy, yeah.
JM Yeah, yeah. I've only actually heard his stuff on radio 4 afterwards, I didn't actually see Britain's Got Talent but it was pretty awesome, it was pretty funny and yeah you know it's great to see. I think actually we have to be proud of everyone about the society and how it's moved on compared to the rest of human history where this wasn't, you know, wouldn't have been thinkable and now it is and everyone's much happier, I think. Everyone is much happier as a result.
MM Okay thanks, James.
And if you want more information about Learning Disability Week taking place between Monday the 13th and Sunday the 19th of May, go onto the Scottish Commission for Learning Disabilities website at www.scld.org.uk or else you can find them on all the social network channels, Twitter and they're @scldnews and on Facebook at Facebook.com/scotcommission. You have been listening to the Learning Disability podcast and I hope you enjoyed it.