Mencap Cymru and Cardiff Law School launch legal toolkits for adults with a learning disability

A series of new guides aimed at helping adults with a learning disability and their carers access health and social care services has 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 a learning disability and help them navigate their options to access services.

The toolkits, which were launched on 8 September 2015 at an event sponsored by Lynne Neagle AM, look at the rights of people with a learning disability on a range of topics from housing and education to health and social care. They aim to empower anyone who supports people with a learning disability to access these services, including family members, support workers and advocates.

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 they are entitled to.

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

Lynne Neagle, Assembly Member for Torfaen, said: "I was delighted to sponsor the launch of Mencap Cymru's legal toolkits.

"I have been so impressed by the toolkits which are a fantastic resource to help people with learning disabilities, their families and professionals navigate complex areas of law.

"A huge well done must go to Mencap Cymru and to students at Cardiff University's School of Law who worked with them to produce the toolkits."

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 toolkits."

The toolkits are available as a free download from the Mencap Cymru website.