Over the past 12 months there have been some alarming and frankly shocking media reports setting out how across the UK far too many disabled people and their families are not receiving the support that they need. These reports have included stories about children with special educational needs being excluded from schools that are unable to provide the right learning environments for them, stories about disabled people still living miles away from their families, friends and local communities in inappropriate secure settings and we heard in May from the Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) that people with a learning disability are not receiving the right support to enable them to stay healthy and as a consequence people with a learning disability are likely to die younger than those around them.
It is hard not to be overwhelmed by the vastness of these issues and by the many lives that are affected. It is important that politicians, organisations, members of the public step up to the plate to ensure that this experience of disabled people and their families does not become the norm and most importantly that we all do our bit to change the story. I am proud of MacIntyre’s part in speaking up for the rights of disabled people and their families, of our inclusive and innovative approach to education and support. We were founded some 50 years ago to challenge the status quo of the time and to develop alternative, innovative and aspirational options for disabled people and we are as determined today as then to continue for the next 50 years.
Our success however is not only down to how we advocate as an organisation or how we plan our focus. It is in the main due to the many warm and reciprocal relationships that have great interactions at their heart. Such relationships are evident in abundance across MacIntyre and captured so beautifully in this Great Interactions Blog on a weekly basis. Over the year we have read about people, about their achievements, aspirations and above all about people experiencing and enjoying life. I would like to thank every contributor who took the time to share these stories and their reflections but most importantly I would like to thank everyone associated with MacIntyre for investing time, energy and a bit of themselves in ensuring that every interaction is respectful, warm, reciprocal and meaningful. It really is what makes us different and a great way of ensuring MacIntyre will always be about people, will always buck the trend and continue to be aspirational for all the children and adults we support and their families.