20th Anniversary Report

20th Anniversary Report: Finding Freedom - the untapped potential of the community for people with learning disabilities

 20th Anniversary Report


This Brandon Trust report was launched by Chief Executive Lucy Hurst-Brown at the 2014 Learning Disability Today conference in London and is informed by a national survey of 2,000 people which looks at public attitudes towards, and experience of, people with learning disabilities. It also uses input from our 100 Voices annual conference and turns the focus on different case studies of three people Brandon Trust supports.

The report comes 20 years since the organisation launched in 1994 and offers a timely chance to reflect on the impact of ‘community living’, the agenda that sparked Brandon Trust’s existence. In light of this, it reflects on progress for people with learning disabilities, challenges society’s assumptions, and offers recommendations for future action in social care.

Finding Freedom warns that the vast majority of people with learning disabilities remain invisible in our society despite more than 20 years of ‘care in the community’.

The research commissioned by the charity reveals that 54% of people don’t know anyone with learning disabilities. Of those who do know someone with a learning disability (46%), just a quarter said they would describe that person as a friend.

Action has to be taken to change this, not only to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities but also to reduce the reliance on paid-for care, an increasingly pressing issue when faced with a social care budget crisis.

This is backed up by the fact that 64% of people surveyed felt people with learning disabilities are not visible in their community and 91% believed people with learning disabilities should be given greater opportunities to build relationships in their community.

"Scratch under the surface of 'care in the community' and the reality for most people with a learning disability - despite the fact they live in a town, village or city - is 'care without the community'."

Lucy Hurst-Brown, Chief Executive

The full report and research findings are now available: