Richmond Fellowship has teamed up with CHANGE, a leading learning disabilities charity, to take part in Don’t Shut Me Out! a three-year Comic Relief funded project which aims to improve inclusivity and accessibility to mental health services for people with learning disabilities.
Today, Thursday 6th July 2017, as part of its ongoing partnership work with CHANGE, Richmond Fellowship is pleased to publish a series of new easy read literature that is available to all members of the public and the individuals it currently supports across the country.
Mary Wishart, Group Director of Business Development at Richmond Fellowship, said:
“We are delighted to have worked with our partners at CHANGE to develop vital easy read materials that will help to promote inclusivity and improve access to our services for individuals with learning disabilities. The Don’t Shut Me Out! project has been a key strand of our work this year to promote equality and diversity across all of our services nationally.
“We are particularly pleased to be able to launch our new easy read materials during National Co-Production Week. We are passionate about co-production and it runs as a golden thread throughout everything we do here at Richmond Fellowship.
“Working together with our colleagues at CHANGE to co-produce this important literature means that individuals living with both mental ill health and learning disabilities will be given better opportunities to access the support and services that they need.”
Philipa Bragman, CEO of CHANGE, said:
“We know that people are more complex than one single issue and our aim for Don’t Shut Me Out! was to look at how we could work together with other organisations to make services more inclusive.
“Richmond Fellowship provides critical mental health services across the country and they very much supported our ethos of working together to better support people with dual and complex needs. In this case, we combined our skills and expertise in the areas of mental health and learning disabilities to provide something tangible that would provide people with better access to those important services.”
Richmond Fellowship and CHANGE started their co-production journey in July 2016 by carrying out an inclusion and accessibility audit of a range of different mental health services across the country.
As part of the audit, the team at CHANGE, led by people with learning disabilities, visited services in Havering and Leicestershire and reviewed the Richmond Fellowship website and printed publications.
Based on their findings, CHANGE and Richmond Fellowship worked together on a number of projects to improve inclusivity for people with learning disabilities. The projects identified included:
- Converting a number of key Richmond Fellowship publications into easy read, a picture-based format which is simpler for people with learning disabilities to follow
- Developing a checklist with top tips for services about how to make themselves more accessible and inclusive
- Developing an e-learning training package about learning disabilities awareness, which will form part of Richmond Fellowship’s staff induction programme.
Mary Wishart said:
“Being more accessible to all our diverse communities is one of our main objectives at Richmond Fellowship. The work we have been doing with CHANGE over the last year will help us develop our expertise in supporting people with learning disabilities and build on a lot of the good work our national services are already doing in the spirit of co-production.”
Notes to Editors
Richmond Fellowship is a leading voluntary sector provider of mental health services in England. Established in 1959, Richmond Fellowship today helps make mental health recovery a reality for over 9000 people in England every year. For further information please visit www.richmondfellowship.org.uk
CHANGE is a leading human rights organisation led by disabled people. It works in the UK and across the world for equal rights and its aim is inclusion for all people with learning disabilities. It employs people with learning disabilities to co-run projects, co-deliver training and co-create accessible information. Find out more at: www.changepeople.org
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