The contributions people with learning disabilities make to their communities has been in the spotlight in Craven.
Christopher Porter was recently named Craven Citizen of the Year, an award open to all Craven residents that is given to ‘an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Craven during the past year.’
The win - awarded by Craven District Council - recognises Christopher’s voluntary work with a number of community groups and organisations in Craven, including Oxfam in Skipton, South Craven Community Library, Fallfest and Exclusively Inclusive.
Christopher is co-chair of the Craven and Harrogate learning disability Local Area Group based in Skipton. He is also the North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board representative for work on the NHS Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme, which is exploring the subject of early deaths of people with learning disabilities.
This week is Learning Disability Week (from June 17 to June 23), which celebrates and highlights the positive contributions made by people with learning disabilities.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Michael Harrison, executive member for adult social care and health integration, said: “Christopher’s win is a great reminder about the huge contribution people with learning disabilities make to their communities and the roles they can play in them.
“Christopher’s award also highlights the work he does to promote the independence, rights, choice and inclusion of people with a learning disability or autism, their families and carers through the North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board. One of the Partnership Board’s key aims is to support people with learning disabilities to become ‘self-advocates’ – able to speak up for themselves and about the things that matter to them.
“We know how important the work of the Partnership Board and its area groups is, and the difference it can make to people. One self-advocate, Mark Hamblin, has told us that ‘self-advocacy is about speaking up for yourself and speaking up for other people, which makes you feel proud.’ Fellow self-advocate Tom Williams said ‘people can speak to the Partnership Board and the County Council and they will listen to what has been said. It’s good to be listened to’”.
The Learning Disability Partnership Board is supported by North Yorkshire County Council and plays a very significant part in its work with partners, community members and organisations.
The board links with forums made up of people with learning disabilities, as well as local authorities, service providers, health care and other professionals, families and carers.
These forums are managed through the County Council’s Health and Adult Services team, in partnership with KeyRing Living Support Networks. Information for all meetings is written in accessible ‘Easy English’ using short easy-to-read sentences with images, and in audio, so everyone can get involved as equals.