I can not tell you how lucky I feel to have been given the opportunity of a WCMT Fellowship. The chance to travel, to meet people and to spend time exploring an issue that has been a backdrop to my life for the past few years. I am ridiculously excited and very humbled. You can read more about the background to my fellowship by clicking on the icon at the top of this page, or clicking here.
I leave the UK in two weeks and I can not wait. The first phase of my fellowship takes me to Australia and New Zealand for 5.5 weeks, including time in Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, Dunedin, Brisbane and Hobart. I have been blown away by people’s generosity and willingness to share their time, contacts and coffee with me.
I have meetings planned with disabled people’s organisations, government officials, commissioners, service providers, lawyers, healthcare improvement organisations, advocates, policy makers and academics.
I’ve been invited to give a public lecture in Sydney towards the start of my trip on Wednesday 15 November. It’s free to attend and anyone and everyone is welcome, you just need to register to attend which you can do here. If you know anyone who might be interested, please forward them the details.
The only thing that is worrying me a little is that so far I have drawn a blank with bereaved families. In one way this is not surprising as I’m not sure how I am meant to find them, and even I am not bold enough to contact a bereaved family out of the blue, even if I were to come across one. I’m hoping that social media will do it’s thing and someone will share this with someone, who knows someone whose relative with intellectual disabilities has died.
This person’s death may have been investigated. Or perhaps there was no investigation but the family felt that there should have been. There might have been an inquest, or a police investigation, or some sort of investigation by the care or support provider. If you know of any family who has experiences like this please do share this site with them and ask them to get in touch with me if they would be happy to meet up and tell me about their experience. I’d also be happy to talk via Skype, on the phone or by email if people would rather not meet in person. I’m interested in all experiences, good or bad, and any ideas that families have for how investigations could be improved, or used, to improve things for other intellectually disabled people.
If you are interested in my fellowship, or would like to speak to me please feel free to drop me an email here. If you’re just interested in following my travels I’ll be sharing updates on twitter with the hashtag #WCMTLD and you can connect with me here.