Tuesday 24 October 2017 01:29:31 AM

McKevitt Calls For Better Support For People With Learning Difficulties
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SDLP South Down Assembly Candidate Councillor Karen McKevitt has said the Assembly must put more resources into helping people with learning disabilities.

She said,“There must be greater collaboration between government departments, particularly the departments of health and education to help people and families living with learning disabilities.

“The current system is simply not good enough with parents or guardians having to fight every single year to get access to transport services, respite care and other entitlements.

“At present there are also very little programmes and training schemes for adults with learning disabilities especially for those who are unable to walk or talk and have complex needs.

“In Newry and Mourne many adults go to the Gateway Club, whose volunteers carry out fantastic work, but it needs to be promoted more and given increased financial aid by the Southern Health Trust.”

Councillor McKevitt added,  “We also have a day care centre on the Rathfriland Road which is not being used to its full potential, with two state of the art rooms lying empty as funding hasn’t been allocated for the facility to operate to its full capacity.

“I have worked with various learning disability groups in Newry and know the frustrations experienced by families having been involved in ensuring that allowances were removed from them by Southern Trust were reinstated.

“However, our government system should not be designed in such a way that it is a constant uphill struggle for families to access help and services. The focus needs to shift and centre on how government can help vulnerable people and how these bureaucratic barriers can be removed.”