Stay Up Late at BILD’s annual conference, Oct 2013


At this year’s BILD annual conference we were asked to run a session based around ‘Getting a Great Life’. We decided to use the session to help us start developing the Stay Up late manifesto for change’; our list of things that need to change if people with learning disabilities are truly able to lead their lives in the ways they choose.

During the workshops we asked everyone to imagine a parallel universe where people with learning disabilities are fully included in every aspect of their lives and their community, we then looked at what needs to change to make this happen.

This then led on to the main part of the workshop – looking at all the blocks preventing this parallel universe from actually existing. These ‘blocks’ were then visualised in a ‘wall of blocks’ which created the agenda for short discussions about what we can do to remove these blocks.

Here’s a summary of ‘the blocks’:



–         A blame culture within organisations

–         Misuse of risk assessments

–         ‘Health and safety’ reasons

–         Support providers’ fear of scrutiny

–         Risk averse attitudes



–         Learning disability not being a political priority

–         The lack of advocacy services

–         The education system

–         Portrayal of people with learning disabilities in the media

–         Poorly designed buildings



–         Inflexible support staff

–         Lack of creativity

–         People with a ‘tick-box’ mentality

–         Lack of compassionate staff

–         Staff without a ‘can-do’ attitude



–         Lack of suitable housing available

–         Relying on ‘services’ to solve things rather than                             communities

–         Being dependant on paid staff

–         Not enough funded support hours

–         Short staffed at weekends



–         mental capacity

–         hate and mate crime

–         Lack of accessible communication

–         Limited employment opportunities

–         Not enough support for people to access personal budgets

Download all the blocks here

As the discussions went on it really became clear from the lovely and enthusiastic people present that none of these things should really be blocks. Admittedly some are easier to remove than others but in creating our ‘parallel universe’ at the beginning of the workshop it occurred to me that we’ve actually created a much more bizarre world right here, right now. A world where people have grown used to a whole range of things that prevent them from doing things a lot of us take for granted.

So in our next post we’re going to look at some of the things that we talked about to dismantle those things which are ‘impossible’ to change.


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