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Donna Lynch, DSA Regional Manager
Throughout 2015 we have had a flourish of activity in our Harvest Project groups. We have had baking nights, games nights, karaoke evenings, pizza evenings, park walks, BBQ’s, discos, trips to the theatre, trips to the cinema and much, much more.
Our groups have given our older population a chance to make new friends and given them the opportunity to try new activities. These groups have given so much fun, love and joy to all of our lives for members, staff and volunteers as you can see:
We closed our groups at the end of June. Over the months of July and August we are having days out and 4 holiday weekends. For all the dates please visit our website
If you are an adult with Down’s syndrome or know of someone who could use this service please contact our office on 02890 665 260
The Harvest Project is funded by the Big Lottery through their programme: Reaching Out – Connecting Older People.
The DSA has been part of a network of charities working with Welsh Government on reforms to the additional needs education system in Wales for a long while – initial consultation regarding this began as far back as 2007.
We feel it is important to highlight to all parents that the current statementing legislation in Wales still stands and will do for the foreseeable future.
We have heard reports from some families that their local authority has told them “statements have gone” or “we don’t issue statements anymore”. This information is incorrect and you should be aware that it is your right, in law, to request a statement for your child and all local authorities in Wales have an obligation to respond to that request.
There is a very useful section on our website about education law www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/for-families-and-carers/education/sen-and-the-law/statements/ This has recently been updated to reflect the most recent news from Welsh Government.
Welsh Education Minister, Huw Lewis AM, has just released a consultation document on the proposed changes to additional needs education in Wales – the Bill will be published in draft, with comments being sought between now and December. The DSA will be submitting a response in due course and we would urge all parents to take a look at the consultation paper and make their own individual responses as well. The documents can be downloaded here
It will be for the new Welsh Assembly (post elections next May) to implement the Bill and so currently we have no date confirmed as to when this might take place. At a recent meeting with the Welsh Education Minister, he assured us that he will write to all Heads of Education Service across Wales reminding them of their duties in relation to issuing statements for children with additional needs and that, for the time being, the status quo applies. If you have an queries relating to this please contact Julian Hallett, Wales Manager email@example.com , Lesley Black, Education Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or call our helpline on 0333 12 12 300.
For further information about our work in Wales, please go to our website
Thank you to all the parents and practitioners who attended our recent Supporting Early Development and Supporting Social Development training days. The training once again highlighted the benefits of learning with other parents, carers and practitioners.
Feedback from the day included: ‘very positive, normalised a lot of learning approaches into easy ways to help my child’
Our summer series is nearly complete and we are looking forward to our Autumn programme:
Support and practice for young people in secondary education: 2 October 2015
Supporting early development: 8 October 2015
Support and practice in early years and primary education: 6 November 2015
Supporting social development and behaviour : 2 December 2015
Places are still available, so for all full details and to register please visit our dedicated Education and Development page
Details will follow soon for Understanding dual diagnosis of autism spectrum condition and Down’s syndrome in the East of England and Supporting children and young people in primary and secondary education in the North West.
Originally posted on Down 2 Earth Magazine Editor's Blog:
Mum and dad and I went to South Wales for
Four days with the Larondina dance company
And danced on the island we all had a
good time together, that was wonderful.
We also went to the seaside for a week and
And really had a good time together. We
visited the Turner exhibition
It was a hot day it was great fun
And the Chilli beans drama group I am in
are doing a Comedy show called
Mac Village. Everyone is so excited.
Everyone is looking forward to the
show next week – bring it on!
The July Budget introduced many changes to the benefits system which will affect people with Down’s syndrome and their families.
It is important to note that most changes will not take place until 2017, and that disability benefits are largely protected. Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment remain exempt from tax.
If you have concerns about your situation, please ring the DSA Benefits Advisers on 0333 12 12 300, Monday to Friday, 10-4 or email email@example.com
This is a summary of the main changes affecting people with Down’s syndrome:
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
From April 2017, the rate of ESA for people in the Work-related activity group will be the same as the rate of Jobseekers Allowance, currently £73.10 per week. They will not receive the existing work-related activity component, currently £29.05 per week. This is for NEW CLAIMANTS ONLY. People already on ESA in the work-related activity group will NOT lose the amount they already receive.
People in the ESA work-related activity group are to be given more help to look for work.
Freeze on working age benefits
Benefits for people of working age will be frozen for the next 4 years. This includes Housing Benefit.
It does not include Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the disability elements of Tax Credits, or the ESA Support group. It does include the ESA Work-related activity group.
Changes for 18-21 year olds
From April 2017, 18-21 year olds who are out of work will not get housing support if they make a NEW claim for Universal Credit. Vulnerable young people are exempted and will continue to get housing support in Universal Credit. We hope this will include people with Down’s syndrome.
There will be a new Youth Obligation for 18-21 year olds. From the start of their claim for Universal Credit, they will be required to prepare for work or training/education and go into work or training/education after 6 months.
As far as we know, at the moment, no one with Down’s syndrome is on Universal Credit.
Cuts in Tax Credits and Universal Credit for families with more than 2 children
For children born after April 2017, no Child Elements will be paid in Tax Credits or Housing Benefit for a third or subsequent child. This will also apply to new claims for Universal Credit from the same date. People already on Tax Credits or Universal Credit in April 2017 will not lose the money they already receive (as long as their claim is not stopped for longer than 6 months).
Children with disabilities born to larger families will continue to get the Disabled and Severely Disabled Child elements in Tax Credits and Universal Credit. But even disabled children will not get the Child Element they receive now.
Those starting a family after April 2017 will also not receive the Family element (Tax Credits) or the single child premium (Universal Credit) of £545 a year. In Housing Benefit, the family element will stop from April 2016.
Child Benefit will still be paid for all children as now.
Reduction in Housing Benefit for people in social housing
Rents for social housing will be reduced by 1% a year for the next 4 years.
The household benefits cap reduced
The household benefits cap will be £20,000, single rate £13,400. Households in London will be capped at £23,000, single rate £15,410.
Parents on Universal Credit expected to look for work sooner
From April 2017, parents claiming Universal Credit will have to prepare for work when their youngest child turns 2, and seek work once their youngest child turns 3. This includes lone parents.
Changes to Tax Credits thresholds and tapers
From 2016/17, the threshold at which earnings start to reduce tax credit is being reduced from £6,420 to £3,850. Tax Credits will also be tapered off at a sharper rate (48 pence for every extra pound earned, up from 41 pence). Similar changes are being made in Universal Credit work allowances (the equivalent to the earnings threshold).
Support for mortgage interest (SMI)
From April 2018, support for mortgage interest will be changed to a loan, to be re-paid after the house is sold, or when the claimant starts working again.
Extension of free childcare
From September 2017, working families will get 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds per week, up from 15 hours currently.
Details of how the changes will work in practice are still unclear. We will update this information as soon as we can.
For further information about benefits, please contact our helpline on 0333 1212 300 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
By Helen Laverty (Professional Lead Learning Disability Nursing, University of Nottingham)
Over the last 100 hundred years the history of learning disability nursing has been littered with rumour, mystery and prejudice:
There’s no future in it; you are not real nurses; you don’t need to be very clever to do it; you don’t need nurses to care for people with a learning disability
It only happens behind high walls and closed doors; it’s only about ‘warehousing people’, there’s no future in it
It doesn’t take a nurse to care for someone with a learning disability, anyone can do it