Well what a fantastic Learning Disability Week! When I came into the Carers Leeds office during the week it was great to feel the buzz of yet another week packed full of activity and see colleagues going out to do information stalls in different communities. Early in the week we were at Compton Centre and Reginald Centre.  Everyone was really enthusiastic and really enjoyed being involved.

My own experiences of Learning Disability Week included going to MENCAP with my colleague Andy to run an information session about the services for people with Learning Disabilities when they are changing from children’s to adult’s social care services.  The parents I met at this session were very knowledgeable and as usual at any session like, this I learnt lot.  We were very lucky because we had a worker from Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)  Specialist Learning Disability Team.  We heard about how this team will do benefits checks for anyone with Learning Disabilities.  MENCAP gave lots of information about courses they run too.

At the end of the session people said they had really enjoyed the day and the evaluation sheets were very positive.  I always enjoy these sessions because the people I meet who care for their sons and daughters are caring, committed and challenging.  I came away thinking these are people who want the best for the people they care for but sometimes systems get in the way.  I find it humbling that carers trust us to support and advise them and i’m reminded how important it is to be the best we can be for every carer!

Last Friday I went to the brilliant Picnic in the Park at Temple Newsam with my colleague Lokhi and we ran an information and tombola stall.  I had a moment of panic when I realised we needed to bring our own tables, but thanks to the kindness of event organiser Carol and the staff at Temple Newsam we were up and running in no time with some spares. The tombola stall was packed thanks to my colleague Trish who had done a brilliant job organising the stall made up of generous donations from the Carers Leeds and LYPFT teams.  The tombola was free but people were so kind and insisted on making a donation to support our work with other carers.

The stall was very busy and we had great fun.  We started at 11am and everything was gone by 12.30pm.  The rain just about kept off and I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the singing from the talent show.  It was a smashing day to end a great week.  I am volunteering for next year already and hope I have as much fun with my colleagues, carers and people with learning disability as I did this year!

Elaine Wilkes, Mental Health / Learning Disability Carers Team Leader