Welcome to week three of meet the team – let me introduce you to Louise Keevil. She would like you to know why she is committed to Where I Want to Live
Hello and thank you for joining us as we start our journey at Where I Want to Live.
My name is Louise Keevil, I am a founding trustee. I have worked for many years with lots of young people with a wide range of learning disabilities, their families and their professional support networks.
I have first-hand experience in both care and education settings and this has shown me time and time again that, sadly, we still live in a country where too many people with learning disabilities do not have choices that are equal to their peers. I passionately believe they should and fortunately the Human Rights Act, 1998, agrees!! Whilst I am sure this could be said for many aspects of their lives, I am particularly concerned about rights to choose where and how they live their adult lives.
This is not a sweeping brush of criticism… everyone involved is making their best efforts and the legislation is robust… there is a strong desire across the board for equality and there are many good initiatives that attempt to bring about change. We just don’t seem to be able to get on top of it!
It is not good enough, so this is why I am committed to our new charity, Where I Want to Live.
It is time for us to unpick the situation and get back to basics…. Do we really know the hopes and dreams of each young person with a learning disability? Are they having the same conversations at home, at school, at college that their siblings are having? How can we be sure that the possibilities are understood and voices are heard? I am not sure we have put our energies into supporting these conversations so they can become the norm and from an earlier age.
We often find ourselves being critical of the housing options available and whether this is fair or not is irrelevant if we can’t be certain of what people would want from the home that would work for them.
I am so excited that at Where I Want to Live we are making plans to address this. We will be providing resources that will empower each young person with a learning disability so that in the future they will be able to express their wishes for where and how they live and be clear of the route.
Not only will this resource be a fabulous tool for self-discovery but it will create an information bank of the needs and wishes of young adults with learning disabilities. This will arm us with a good understanding of the facts about how people want to live so we are best informed when we engage with policy makers, trying to influence policies for the benefit of so many young people and their families.