As part of the charity’s 20th anniversary celebrations, this year’s 100 Voices conference will be held in London for the first time, at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal football club, and will be attended by more than 200 people with learning disabilities and their support workers.
Brandon Trust’s unique annual event focusses on hearing first-hand the priorities and challenges for people with learning disabilities and autism in today’s society. Previous 100 Voices conferences have focussed on a key theme each year including employment, public transport and personal safety.
This year’s special 20th anniversary conference will explore how far society has come in relation to people with learning disabilities and autism in the last 20 years, and what the goals and priorities should be for the next two decades.
Brandon Trust chief executive Lucy Hurst-Brown says:
“100 Voices is by far the most important event on our annual calendar. It’s a critical moment for us to hear, understand and act upon the views of the people we support – and this year’s special 20th anniversary event will be the biggest and best.”
“Despite huge developments in the last 20 years, people with learning disabilities are still restricted by many aspects of the modern world. For example, less than 7% of people with learning disabilities and autism have a job. At Brandon Trust we are striving to change this. We inspire the people we support to set themselves free so they can reach for their dreams and be all they can be.
“Our unique 100 Voices conference is a vital part of that work, ensuring the voices of the people we support are heard and helping us to show what a valuable role people with learning disabilities can play in their community.”
Philippa Hamilton, who is supported by Brandon Trust and a member of the charity’s consultative committee, has taken an active role in all three previous 100 Voices events. She added:
“I’m excited and looking forward to it. It’s important to everyone because you learn so much from these conferences and have your say.
“It’s nice to meet everybody and share views on what has been going on in people’s lives. It’s good to have interaction and external people to hear what we have to say.”
100 Voices’ specially created programme is designed to help people with learning disabilities express their views in a friendly, supportive and inspiring environment. All input from delegates will be recorded, through a variety of interactive methods, in order to inform Brandon Trust’s work to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism, both in terms of service provision and government policy and support.
The day will include discussions of major achievements in the last 20 years, both personally and for people with learning disabilities and wider society. Delegates will be asked to bring along something they are most proud of – from keys to their first home or photos from their first ever holiday.
Sessions will also focus on looking to the future, including delegates outlining their perfect week and a specially created and facilitated ‘traffic light’ exercise where people can express what they would like to see more and less of in relation to both support services and wider society in general.