Big Society, Disability and Civil Society Research

Website for ESRC research project 'Big Society? Disabled People with Learning Disabilities and Civil Society'

15th January, Learning Disability Think Tank Event

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We know that  people with learning disabilities are living precarious lives in a time of austerity; cuts to a range of services and benefits are threatening the community inclusion of people with learning disabilities.

As a result of the Big Society research, Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole, Senior Research Fellow in Disability Studies and Psychology, was invited to take part in a learning disability think tank event co-ordinated by Breakthrough UK, a Manchester based organisation of disabled people who promote disability equality and deliver services to disabled people.

The attendees included members of People First Manchester, commissioners from social care, and health headteachers from local schools  and a range of third sector organisations who came together to think about the challenges facing young people with learning disabilities in transition.  The meeting was held in the Brooks Building, Birley Fields Campus.

Helen Smith, community living advisor, facilitated the meeting, which will lead to the development of ‘good practice’ case studies that will inform the development of the Greater Manchester Disability Plan.

Michele Scattergood, Chief Executive at Breakthrough UK said: “engaging with such a diverse group of people on a single issue was very energising. The barriers that people with learning difficulties face to live ordinary lives are always challenging – these difficult economic times expose new pressures and opportunities to think differently, to work together in ways we have never done before. The think tank was a good start – now we need to harness the energy in the room and turn it into action”.


Author: Katherine RC

Katherine is Research Fellow in Disability Studies and Psychology at the Research Institute for Health and Social Change at Manchester Metropolitan University

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