New learning disability and autism initiative launched in Essex

HEALTH and social care staff at community healthcare group Provide are pioneering a new initiative which aims to improve the lives of children and adults in Essex with learning disabilities and autism.

Recent studies carried out by Essex County Council have estimated that there are about 27,330 people across Essex living with a learning disability, a figure that is predicted to increase by at least ten percent over the next decade[1].

Launched this month, the new ‘Show You Know’ initiative will deliver specialist training to more than 1,000 healthcare professionals working for Provide, enabling them to care for and support those with neurodiverse needs in the best way possible.

The campaign’s mascot, Suzy the Hedgehog will feature on ‘Show You Know’ badges worn by staff across Provide to show they are aware of how best to support people with learning disabilities and autism. Suzy was designed by Susan Docksey (pictured), a resident from one of Provide’s supported living homes.

Speaking about the wider initiative, Mark Heasman, group chief executive of Provide said, “With some 27,330 people living with a learning disability in Essex, we feel proud to be offering great services that recognise and value the talents people with a learning disability bring to enrich our lives. However, we know we can always do better.”

Stephanie Dawe, group chief nurse and COO at Provide said, “Our strategy sets out how we will create the right culture to enable people with a learning disability to live long and happy lives supported by people who are well trained and compassionate.”

Sue Mason, safeguarding nurse advisor at Provide said, “We are excited to have been involved with the initiative. This strategy has evolved through awareness that people with learning disabilities and autism don’t always get the understanding, help or support to access the health care they need.”

Provide’s learning disability and autism training will be rolled out to staff across the organisation, before a planned nationwide campaign which the healthcare provider hopes will see Suzy the Hedgehog become a national mascot for the support of those with neurodiverse needs.

Find out more at ihaveavoice.co.uk

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