Wednesday night’s Panorama programme rightly exposed the abuse, bullying, neglect and cruelty that still exists in some long stay and institutional secure units for people with learning disabilities and autism.
With over 35 years of working in social care, it is with great frustration, anger and deep sadness that I reflect on why and how such dark places can still exist, although I am not surprised that care scandals are still being unearthed.
Yesterday, I felt the need to write to all colleagues throughout the Trust to thank them for their hard work and to shine a light on the kindness, compassion and care they show each day to the people we have the honour of supporting across the charity.
I realise we do not always get everything right, and there is still more to do to ensure all our care and support is consistently of the highest quality – but it’s also important we recognise the good things that happen every day.
Alongside VODG and LDE we will continue to campaign passionately for the closure of such institutions, but some of the most powerful messages the Trust can share are the examples we have of supporting people with very complex support needs in their own homes and communities – slowly enabling people to develop new friendships and a sense of belonging, self-worth and purpose.
In appropriate homes and locations, we will continue to develop the skills and resources needed to enable more people to move out of such restrictive and reactionary “people warehouses” and into supportive environments that recognises each person as an individual who deserves and has the legal right to, a good life.
CEO Camphill Village Trust