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Enable Scotland invites people to attend Elgin meeting for better rights for people with learning disabilities

By Chris Saunderson

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PEOPLE with learning disabilities, their families and other people in the community are being invited to help shape a bill fighting for better rights.

Jan Savage, director of ENABLE Scotland.
Jan Savage, director of ENABLE Scotland.

ENABLE Scotland, the country's largest charity for people with learning disabilities, are hosting a campaign meeting in Elgin on Monday, November 14.

It is to help inform a Learning Disability, Autism and Neurodiversity Bill set to be brought forward by the Scottish Government.

The meeting starts at the Laichmoray Hotel at 5pm and lasts until 7pm.

The aim is for the bill to be based on real, lived experiences of the learning disability community.

This is believed to be the first bill of its kind in the world.

People can find out more about the bill and feedback their thoughts and concerns about the protection of human rights and their first-hand experiences of the failings and challenges relating to the current system and the associated laws.

Jan Savage, director of ENABLE Scotland said: “For too long, people who have a learning disability have been Scotland’s invisible people. Subject to poor attitudes and persistently poor public services where they have to fight for their rights.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring forward legislation which secures people’s rights in law.

"It is so important that every voice of every person who has a learning disability is informing this process which is why we are inviting people with lived experience –as well as supporters from the local community in Elgin –to come along, hear about the plans for the bill and have their say in what ENABLE Scotland will be asking of the Scottish Government.

People can also submit their views online

“We are committed to the community that support us in our campaign for the bill and we will ensure regular updates, information on campaigning and actionable communications to MSPs will be shared with our supporters as the bill progresses through Scottish Parliament over the next two years.

“The Scottish Government have agreed that change is needed. We will not get this chance again. If you care about the human rights of people who have a learning disability and want to be part of a movement for change with other like-minded people – we want to meet you on November 14."

The charity has highlighted some shocking facts relating to people with a learning disability:

  • Less than seven per cent have a job.
  • Adults with a learning disability in Scotland die 20 years younger than other adults.
  • Children with a learning disability are 12 times more likely to die from preventable illness than other children.

The bill provides an opportunity to ensure that the rights of people with a learning disability are protected in law. The Scottish Government has also said that it will create a new Commissioner to make sure that these rights are upheld.

The meeting will take place at the Laichmoray Hotel in Elgin.
The meeting will take place at the Laichmoray Hotel in Elgin.

The bill will be a replacement for the current Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

The charity believes this act does not go far enough in protecting the human rights of those in the learning-disabled community.

ENABLE has also launched a national survey for people to submit their views if they are unable to make it along to one of the local campaign meetings.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

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