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by | Friday, June 19th, 2020 | News

A new Learning Disability Friendly Award (LDFA) is recognising individuals, teams, and businesses in Devon that go above and beyond in their efforts to help people with learning disabilities feel understood, valued, and included.

The idea is inspired by the Alzheimer’s Society’s hugely successful Dementia Friendly initiative, to celebrate communities that are helping to improve the lives of people living with learning disabilities.

The coronavirus pandemic has created difficulties for all of us, but for those who rely heavily on a routine for their wellbeing, the difference between being able to leave the house to buy a cup of coffee or being stuck at home is crucial.

A café in the Tavistock area won a LDFA for making staggering adjustments to help someone with autism. A member of staff travelled to work every day to open up the Cafe at the same time every morning, so this person could buy their daily coffee.

For this individual, their routine and drive to buy coffee were considered essential, even during the tightest COVID-19 restrictions.

Jamie-lee Cosgree, a Primary Care Liaison Nurse at Livewell Southwest who devised the awards, said:

‘The kindness shown by the café worker is extraordinary,  it’s beyond lovely that the café opened its doors every day to help make someone’s life better.

‘It’s an extraordinary commitment and at Livewell Southwest we are delighted to recognise and celebrate the people that are showing kindness and taking personal responsibility to overcome the issues raised by COVID.’

Adam Morris, Chief Executive Officer at Livewell Southwest, said:

‘The difference these simple actions make for people is greater than many could ever realise. They’re providing individuals with a safe and supportive environment to engage with their local communities and have an inclusive experience, it’s exactly what we should all be doing to make cohesive societies.’

Staff at Tavistock Hospital provided compassionate, empathetic, and holistic care for several individuals with complex learning disabilities.

Sadly these individuals were moved out of their care home due to an outbreak of coronavirus.

Jamie-lee added: ‘ The team was anxious at first,  caring for people with complex needs who were also unwell with COVID and in unfamiliar surroundings.

‘When they arrived at the hospital they were distressed and unsure of their environment and were intimidated by staff who were wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

‘By day three staff were laughing and joking with patients and helping them feel safe in any way they could.

‘They are a fabulous team doing amazing work which I have no doubt facilitated a speedy discharge for these patients back to their care home.’

The awards are helping to build awareness and engagement with the learning disability community and to help us nurture these professional relationships and personal friendships.

This week is Learning Disabilities Awareness Week and the theme is the importance of friendships during the lockdown.

If you know of an individual, team or business that is going above and beyond to make an inclusive environment for people with learning disabilities please email [email protected]

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