People with learning disabilities in Barnet will be able to go out into the community with more confidence thanks to a new £20,000 funding award to two of north London’s specialist disability providers.
The new project by social care organisations Your Choice Barnet and Barnet Mencap will encourage local businesses to set up places where people with learning disabilities can go if they become lost, distressed or a victim of hate crime.
It has been made possible through Barnet Council’s Supporting Independence Fund, which supports disabled and older Barnet residents to live more independent and fulfilling lives.
The project’s aim is to raise awareness of learning disabilities among local businesses and encourage them to display identifiable stickers on their premises, identifying them as places which people with learning disabilities can use if they get into difficulties.
The partnership will combine the expertise of learning disability providers with the support of the Metropolitan Police to develop an active network of local business members.
The scheme will help people with learning disabilities feel more confident and safer when using their local communities. It will also give them more choice and independence in their daily lives.
Project Lead and Director of Operations for Your Choice Barnet, Amanda Jackson, said: “Scenarios like public transport breaking down and having to get off in unfamiliar places is daunting for any person. It’s particularly daunting and scary for someone with a learning disability.
“We want to break down the social barriers and encourage more people with learning disabilities to travel and access their local shops and cafes just like everyone else.
“We are very pleased and excited to be working with Barnet Mencap and together we hope to give people that extra boost of self-assurance and security to get out more in the community.”
People with learning disabilities will be able to join the scheme for free and will carry a registered card. It will be recognisable by printed stickers and registered member cards.
The project will be up and running in the spring.
Similar schemes are already working successfully in other parts of the country.