Learning disabilities research project: Stay Up Late meet Heart n Soul!

A group of us from Stay Up Late travelled up to London to take part in a workshop discussion with Heart n Soul at the Hub. On the train on the way back to Hastings Daniel, Glenn and Darren put together this report on the day.

Heart n Soul are carrying out a big research project about people with learning disabilities and autism and society’s attitudes to them. They hosted a discussion afternoon (with sandwiches, tea and cakes!) in their smart and colourful new Hub at the Wellcome Foundation HQ on Euston Road. Heart n Soul will use the ideas and experiences that people share this afternoon to help them put together questions for a big national survey they are doing.

The Stay Up Late team

Daniel (Stay Up Late Trustee and Campaign Ambassador), Glenn (Gig Buddies participant), Jason (Stay Up Late Quality Checker) and Victoria (Gig Buddies Assistant) were our team for the day, supported by Darren (Stay Up Late Campaigns Co-ordinator) and Malcolm (Gig Buddies Co-ordinator for West Sussex).

The Heart n Soul at the Hub team

The afternoon was hosted by Pino.“Pino kept it on track and kept us focussed,” said Daniel. He was joined by Mark, Jenny, Dorota, and Sam.

Jenny explained the consent forms and checked everyone was happy to sign. The conversation would be recorded but people’s names would not be used in the final research. Also, if there was anything people said that they didn’t want to be used they could just say so.

Some of the things that were covered in the discussion

Victoria talked about the research she had done for her blog on people with learning disabilities in paid employment. Although she has a paid job she said it makes her feel physically sick how so few people with learning disabilities are able to get a paid job.

Daniel talked about how going out and speaking about Stay Up Late at conferences and taking part in Gig Buddies had been a big confidence booster.

Glenn talked about the importance of relationships and friends and how knowing lots of people in Brighton with his gig buddy has improved his confidence. Independence is really important to him.

Jason said how people needed to see the person not just the disability. He hated how some people get abused and bullied because they have a learning disability – although he said if it happened to him he’d tell them where to get off!

Next steps

Everyone enjoyed taking part and is keen to do more work with Heart n Soul on this project. Glenn really enjoyed the discussion. “It’s important to be able to speak out for yourself,” he says.

You can find out more about the Heart n Soul at the Hub project here

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