Cllr Tina Valcarcel is the Deputy Cabinet Member for Disabilities, and a councillor in Larkhall ward.
Learning Disability week, which this year has taken place from 15 to 21 June, is an opportunity for us to reflect on the additional barriers that local residents with learning disabilities have faced during the pandemic. Whilst the lockdown has had a negative impact on a large number of people, those with a learning disability have felt the impact even harsher, highlighting the importance of friendships and of providing the adequate support.
As the Deputy Cabinet Member for Disabilities, I am determined to be the voice of all disabled Lambeth residents and their carers. Research published by the Office for National Statistics has shown that half of disabled people reported that they were spending too much time alone during lockdown and over 40 per cent of respondents have expressed anxiety regarding access to groceries, medication, health care and other essentials. That is why this year’s friendship theme is so important- socialising is vitally important to all of us, but even more important to those with a learning disability in these challenging times.
Support is available for you, especially from fantastic local groups such as the Rathbone Society, who are keen to ensure that people with learning disabilities live safe, healthy and fulfilled lives. As the lockdown is starting to ease, I do encourage our residents with learning disabilities to start going out, exploring Lambeth’s fantastic green spaces and reconnect following a difficult time.
You can read more about people that local organisations have supported, such as Cecilia, who has been helped by Key Ring and who is determined to keep going, despite her own fears: https://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/Blog/Meet-KeyRing-member-Cecilia/.