First cohort of No Barriers Here© workshops with people with learning disabilities

The first cohort of No Barriers Here© with people with learning disabilities took place during October. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the workshops took place online using Zoom. The co-production team supported people with learning disabilities to take part, ensuring they had the right equipment to join the workshops virtually, providing support workers to assist people and posting out art boxes. For most people in this cohort, it was the first time they had navigated online meetings, but feedback was positive with participants getting to know one another during the first workshop; sharing their hobbies and interests and discussing what is important to them.

During subsequent workshops explored advance care planning in more detail, discussing who the important people are in our lives and how we they would be involved in making decisions about future care. One person said

“It was alright doing this! The collage helped me to think about how my support staff and Mum would help me to make important decisions”

During this time, we collaborated to make a community advance care plan using textiles and materials. Conversations took place in more detail about choices and wishes for the end of life and after death including preferred place of care/ preferred place of death. “I want to be alone at home, I don’t want people watching me”. The final workshop incorporated storytelling and legacies using weaving, asking participants how they would like to be remembered. This week challenged assumptions about people with learning disabilities and participants wanted people to know what they had contributed.

“We want people to know and remember that we trained doctors and nurse (255 of them) about learning disabilities and we made a difference.”

“I hope that people remember that I spoke up for peoples rights, I was an advocate.”