Guest blog (Central Advocacy Partners): Disability Hate Crime

CAP staff

There are times when victims or witnesses of Hate Crime might not feel comfortable reporting a crime directly to the Police and would be more able to report it to someone they are familiar with. To ensure everyone is better able to report Hate Crimes, Police Scotland works in partnership with a wide variety of voluntary organisations who perform the role of 3rd Party Reporting Centres. Staff within 3rd Party Reporting Centres are trained to assist a victim or a witness to make a report to the police.
Central Advocacy Partners has been a 3rd Party Reporting Centre for over 2 years, but our experience is that generally there is a lack of knowledge about the role of 3rd Party Reporting Centres. We would like to make you aware of the Police Scotland Hate Crime campaign, which is scheduled to run from the 17th August 2015.

The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act which strengthens the protection afforded in some situations and creates nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. The protected characteristics are:

• age
• disability
• gender reassignment
• marriage and civil partnership
• pregnancy and maternity
• race
• religion or belief
• sex
• sexual orientation

The campaign’s aim is to raise awareness of Hate Crime, how it impacts on victims, their families and communities, and how people can report it.
The campaign will be run mainly through social media platforms, with people talking about their experiences, how they felt, the impact the hate crime has had, what, if anything they did about it, and the ways of reporting hate crime incidents, particularly through 3rd party centres.
The campaign will run for 4 weeks. Each week will focus on a different strand

Week 1 – Disability
Week 2 – LGB/ Transgender
Week 3 – Race
Week 4 – Religion

There will also be posters, which will carry the following message:

Hate Crime – If you see something REPORT IT by calling 999 or 101.
If you want support to report you can go to one of our 3rd party centres where you see this logo.

‘Scotland no place for prejudice’

It would be great if you could support the campaign by providing a talking head, a quote or by raising awareness about the campaign on your own social media platforms. The time scales are tight so please let the Equality and Diversity Unit know as soon as possible if you would like to be involved. All contact can be made either through their mailbox, or by phone on 01236 818923 or 01236 814710.

Elizabeth Findlay
Central Advocacy Partners

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Guest blog – Talking Mats

This guest blog was written by Lois Cameron and Rhona Matthews, Talking Mats

Keeping Safe: Enabling Adults with learning disability to reflect on their lives and raise issues of concern

Over the past 3 years we’ve been funded by the Scottish Government to develop a Talking Mat to support people with Learning disabilities to raise issues of concern. Talking Mats is a visual framework originally developed through research at the University of Stirling. Talking Mats provides a listening space for people to reflect on their lives and express their views. To create the ‘Keeping Safe Talking Mat’ we have worked in close partnership with Survivor Scotland and KASP. The development of the resource has developed over 3 different projects and with lots of trial and feedback from people with learning disability.

One of the key themes from the national Scottish strategy for people with learning difficulties ‘Keys to Life’ is to keep people safe, but in order for people to be able to reflect and discuss their lives they need to feel that they are in control and ensure that the support provided to them is genuinely person centred . It is important that a discussion focus on a holistic overview of an individual’s life. This is inherent in an effective Talking Mat conversation. A further advantage of the Keeping Safe resource is that it provides a structure for the staff to explore someone’s life in a non-leading way and cover topics that can be sensitive to raise.

What we have done

We have produced a new Keeping Safe resource with 3 topics of conversation

o Health and well Being
o Relationships
o Thoughts and Feelings


Trained staff in the 14 health boards across Scotland at foundation level. This means they learn to use Talking Mats and this Keeping Safe resource specifically. This training has been provided jointly with KASP so staff become more of aware of the overlap of symptoms and behaviour that may arise for people with learning disability who have experienced harm. Staffs are also supported to think through how they respond appropriately to any concerns that may arise and their own feelings and confidence about raising topics that can be difficult to discuss.

What we will do

The final stage of the project aims to have accredited trainers who will be able to lead ongoing training and sustain use of the resource in their local health board area. We also aim to bring the practitioners who have been using the resource together to collect the stories and share the learning


We have one last foundation course organised in Stirling in the Autumn . It is a 2 day course held on the 25th Sept and 23rd Oct if you would like to attend then please email to find out if you are eligible to attend this free Keeping Safe training

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Guest Blog – Project Ability


Project Ability is a Glasgow based charity that runs visual arts workshop programmes for disabled young people, adults with learning disabilities and adults with mental ill health. Aspire, their programme for adults with learning disabilities, takes place at Trongate 103 and offers a wide choice of creative activities and learning opportunities. You may have read the recent Project Ability blogs about the beautiful artwork on display around SCLD’s Equal and Healthy Lives event, or at the ‘A Fairer Scotland’ parliamentary event, both celebrating Learning Disability Week 2015. Thank you to the artists at Aspire for sharing your talent with us!

Berengere from Project Ability got in touch with SCLD to share an update about the exciting news that Project Ability will be going on the road!

Project Ability: On The Road

For the past year Project Ability artists have been out and about making art with people with learning disabilities the length and breadth of the country.

We have cut a swath across the country and been north, south, east and west. These one-off workshops are free and can be adapted to suit experienced artists and complete beginners. They are sociable and fun and each workshop is delivered by a professional artist and an artist with a learning disability who has perfected their craft in our workshop programme.

We want to connect people with learning disabilities through a shared interest in visual art. No person or group is too far, or too remote and we can set up at your kitchen table or in your centre!

A workshop is free so please contact us if would like to get involved. We are taking bookings for August through November 2015.

Email us at, or call us on 0141 552 2822.


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Disability and Media


Michael McEwan writes for the magazine Learning Disability Today and presents a weekly show on Able Radio, an online station created to give a voice to people with disabilities. The Able Academy are now also providing training for people with learning disabilities in presenting, producing and gaining ICT skills. Michael blogs for us today about the inclusion and visibility of people with disabilities in the media…

The media is such a big part our lives now it’s hard to get away from, whether it’s radio, TV, newspapers, magazines or online content and it can be a good way to raise the profile for disability issues. Back in 1992 disability campaigners were in the position where they had to protest en masse outside London Weekend Television studios, unhappy at the pitiful stereotypes of people with disabilities they were using in charity appeal films for the ITV telethon. The protests got huge media attention and the telethon was scrapped. The campaigners had made it clear that people with disabilities were sick of being portrayed that way. Media representation has certainly moved on since then and I would like to talk about some of the more positive examples that are out there.

In Summer 2012 Channel 4 was the home of the Paralympic coverage and they did a good job, filming more then 500 hours of all day every day coverage. The Paralympics did much to bring positive change to the way disability is perceived, and also gave an opportunity to see people with a disability in front of the camera presenting. Also at this time Channel 4 had a show call The Last Leg , featuring a mix of comedy, guests and Paralympics highlights. The show received strong reviews and regularly pulled in more then a million viewers. The host, Adam Hills, is a stand up comedian from Sydney who was born without a right foot and wears a prosthesis – a frequent source of comedy in his act.  Adam’s co-host Alex Brooker was born with hand and arm disabilities while the third member of the team, Josh Widdicombe, has no disability. It’s great to see positive role models on mainstream TV, achieving great things.

The same year Channel 4 created a pilot reality documentary called The Undateables. I wasn’t a fan of the title of the show as we can all have a romance or friendship if we wish. The programme follows people with a wide range of different disabilities through the highs and lows of finding love. The series was nominated for a BAFTA TV award in 2014 and the viewing figures were so good the show is still on. Some of the soaps have also included disability storylines over the past few years, with Eastenders and Emmerdale both featuring the birth of children with Down’s Syndrome.

While we have definitely moved on from the protests outside television studios in 1992, there is still plenty of work to be done and it will be interesting to see where media representation of disability goes in the future.

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IT Skills for Learning and Work

Picture of students listening

Iain Jenkins is a senior lecturer on the Skills for Learning and Work course at Glasgow Clyde College. This is a two year course that aims to prepare young people with learning disabilities for life after school. Iain’s blogging for us today about the benefits he’s seen technology bring the students he works with…  

The Skills for Learning and Work course aims to prepare young people with learning disabilities for life after school, assisting them in the transition from school to mainstream college courses or open employment. We do this by building skills that can be used in life and work that will enable students to approach the workplace and any further learning with confidence. The course aims to improve personal awareness, work preparation skills, job searching skills and independent travel – all things technology can support.

In their first year students attend college three and a half days a week, developing their skills and building their confidence to enter the workplace. In their second year, the students spend one day a week at work experience placements. At the end of their placement they create a PowerPoint presentation to deliver to first year students about their placement, to share their experiences of their time with employers – and to let the first year students see what they can achieve.

As well as thinking more analytically about their placement, the students develop skills in presenting and sharing information in a professional manner. This is an essential skill which can be helpful for future employment. It also provides first year students with the opportunity to see how successful their second year counterparts have actually been.

Using information technology as part of their course students gain experience in a supported environment – and this helps to builds their confidence. They learn how to use the resources to create professional and sophisticated outcomes and often the technologies are resources which they may well be expected to use in the world of work. While teaching the students to utilise the available technology, it is amazing how the student’s skills and confidence develop when they create published resources.

We assist students in learning how to use a number of technologies as part of the course, showing them how to use Microsoft Office and Publisher to create presentations and spreadsheets to help plan an event. Teaching good internet searching skills allows students to look for jobs online and plan travel routes, supporting their employment prospects and independent living skills.

A website we use a lot with students is the Pixton Comic Creator, an interactive site that is normally used to create comics. The medium of comics is very popular among our students and I use the site to get the students to produce a Visual CV. Firstly, the class draw a storyboard on paper, using each panel to illustrate their address, qualifications, skills, qualities, hobbies and ambitions. With their draft version on paper, the students log on to the website and select/design an avatar who will guide the reader through their illustrated CV. Selecting an avatar, and using the character to describe their personality and history can encourage the students who are on the autistic spectrum to get involved with their story providing them with a visual representation of their school/working life which they can refer to during the course. The illustrated CV also helps the students when they are preparing their proper CV to send to potential employers.

Technology can be used to great effect with students with learning disabilities, giving them skills that can be used professionally and personally – and more often than not it’s also a fun and enjoyable way to learn!

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IT For All! Learning Disability Week and Digital Inclusion

Picture of a computer

As part of Learning Disability Week 2015’s ‘Equalities’ theme we are focusing today on digital participation and inclusion. Disability is a factor in the 1.3 million people in Scotland who are on the wrong side of the ‘digital divide’, with the Scottish Household Survey Annual Report 2013 telling us that some 46% of people with long-term illness or disability do not use the internet. We know the research that’s out there tells us that increased digital participation can improve a person’s quality of life, whether that’s finding a cheaper deal online or using social media to get involved in a conversation. Today we will be promoting useful resources that can help make this happen under the hashtag #LDWeek2015 on Twitter. Please get in contact if you think there’s something we should mention!

Today we have launched a new easy read all about getting online – the benefits, how to do it, how to search for information and how to stay safe. We hope this resource will help people with learning disabilities who aren’t currently on the internet find out more and decide if it’s something they would like to try or not. It’s also got lots of good information for people who need a bit more confidence using online services. If you know someone who might find this useful please pass it on, you can download the easy read here…

We will also be putting up more blogs as the day goes on around the theme of digital participation. Iain Jenkins from Glasgow Clyde College will be blogging about the benefits he’s seen technology bring the students he works with and Michael McEwan who writes for Learning Disability Today will be looking at the inclusion of people with disabilities in the media…

We hope you enjoy finding out a bit more about including people with learning disabilities in the digital inclusion debate, please get in contact if there’s anything you think we should know about!

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Older People with Learning Disabilities – Falkirk Event

SCLD has been working with Falkirk Council and Forth Valley NHS. We are working together to help Falkirk Council plan how they will support people with learning disabilities as they get older.

falkirk 1

The first part of this was to organise an engagement event for older people with learning disabilities and their carers to come to. This was a chance for us to meet each other and get some ideas about what people want their lives to be like.

When we started to discuss our vision for the event we were being ambitious. We hoped to have lots of fun activities on throughout the day to encourage people to come along and relax and talk to SCLD staff.

We booked a very large venue, the auditorium in Falkirk Town Hall as we needed the space to be able to have activities and information stalls at the same time.

I have to admit that when I’d been spending lots of time phoning different organisations and community groups to ask if they would like to come and no one was answering the phone I thought that we were not going to be able to achieve anything close to the vision we had. I was worried that the big hall we had booked would be a big empty room. Things started to change though. Community groups and organisations were keen to come along, many admitted that they hadn’t to date had much, or any,  involvement with people who have learning disabilities but they were enthusiastic about the opportunity to come along to our event to encourage people to join them. I found this really heartening as often people don’t see the value that people with learning disabilities bring to their community.
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Learning Disability Week – Equalities


listen to me


Are you facing a problem in your life? Could you limit the cause of your problem to one specific personal characteristic? No?

Often when we face a problem, it’s the result of a culmination of factors. Your problem might be ‘unemployment’. But when you lack self-confidence, face racial discrimination from potential employers, can’t search for jobs because you don’t have an internet connection, and feel mounting pressure to pay bills, care for children and maintain your health condition – it can feel like a lot more than just one problem. So why should people with learning disabilities have to view the problems they face in life through the narrow lens of disability? People are complex – trying to define their problems for them can be unhelpful and discriminatory, and can discourage people from wanting to discuss what’s really happening to them.

SCLD is using Learning Disability Week 2015 as an opportunity to tackle a variety of important and rarely discussed issues, under the theme of ‘Equalities’.
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The World of Autism Practice

By Susan Forrest, SCLD Learning & Development Manager

It is very difficult to talk about autism without some quotes or clichés slipping into the conversation. One often heard is, “When you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”. Well, it is a spectrum disorder, and everyone is an individual whether they have autism or not.

I always seem to end up telling delegates on any training course I deliver that I believe we all have autism-like characteristics. Think about the things you like to do, the routines you stick to, the subjects you like to talk about. And who really likes too much change, especially if it’s sudden and unplanned ?

When I facilitate the Introduction to Autism courses for SCLD, I find that practitioners from all types of organisations are nervous about working with people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They tell me they don’t know anything about autism, or that they are scared of doing something wrong, or making a situation worse.

They seem to forget that many of the skills they use every day will have a positive impact on someone with ASD just as they do with an individual with a learning disability, sensory impairment or dementia.

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Celebrating World Poetry Day – Poems by Lindsay

LindsayI have been writing from the tender age of 8. My love for creative writing bloomed when I was 11 years old – so it took at least 3 years to find out what my talent was!

I have won 3 creative writing competitions, but I am not here to talk about creative writing. I’m here to talk about poetry… well, to write some really!

Here goes, and I hope you enjoy it.

Spring bloom Smiles


Spring blooms awaken.

New born lambs wobble as they walk.

The morning is brighter.

Winter goes to sleep.

Dark mornings start to shut down.

Brighter nights come in.

Again everyone smiles.

The mood in the air changes.

Creating new laughter.
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