News and events

News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

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NELFT celebrate Learning Disabilities Awareness Week with Listening and Learning events

Individuals at the learning diability event

Last week, to mark Learning Disability Awareness Week, NELFT’s Learning Disability teams held various events to highlight to the community what support is available for those with learning disabilities.

The Learning Disabilities and Autism Projects Team held two Listening and Learning events, one at Leyton Orient Football Club and one in Ilford town centre.

The events were attended by NELFT colleagues and service users, who came together to learn about the projects currently underway in our learning disabilities services and to listen to the views and feedback from our service users and their carers.

Paul Calaminus, NELFT’s Chief Executive Officer, welcomed everyone to the event in Ilford town centre and highlighted the importance of listening to our service users when making improvements in our services. He said:

“It was a pleasure to attend one of our learning and listening events last week, it is so important for us to listen to the voices of our service users and make improvements based on what they tell us.

"Service user’s time, input and ideas are the most powerful resource we have when making decisions on how to make our services better.

"We have already made some great changes based on service user feedback and if we can keep doing that going forward, little by little, we are making things better for those at the heart of everything we do - our patients and service users.”

Other presentations were given by:

  • Tori Smith, Significant 7 Practice Facilitator, who spoke about what the Significant 7 training is and how it helps health and care workers to spot signs of patient deterioration.
  • Nicole Poidevin, Learning disabilities dietician, who spoke about the work she does to help those with learning disabilities manage their weight and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Mariatu Kanu, Intensive Support Team (IST) for learning disabilities and autism manager, who spoke about the IST and the service that they provide.
  • Mohammad Soobhun, Health inequality nurse in Waltham Forest, who spoke about his work on health inequalities and his work to try and combat these, including his work on improving access to the annual health check.
  • Kim Millard, service user, spoke about her own experiences of learning disability services and how they supported her to manage her weight, make new friends and socialise, become more active and choose a healthier diet.
  • Jennifer Hibben, Learning disabilities and autism commissioning lead in Barking and Dagenham, who spoke about the borough’s commissioning plans for 2024/25.

Tabletop discussions were held where three questions were discussed in smaller groups; What is your experience of the annual health check? Do you think the staff within CLDT have the right training to support you? What support will help you when you are on the waiting list?

Maureen Rose, who has been a family carer for over 40 years, worked in learning disabilities on a voluntary basis and recently joined our patient participation programme, said:

“People with learning disabilities can sometimes neglect their health so these events can give them a gentle nudge and reminder to looks after their health and wellbeing.”

Service users, Tim and James Brown and Darren Cunningham, said:

“We feel these events are important as they provide us with the opportunity to learn about what support is available and the changes being made. They also allow us to feed back on the services.”

The event ended with Paul handing out thank you presents to our service user speaker, Kim Millard, and our peer support worker for learning disabilities, Gordon Moser. Gordon said:

"At the event, I learnt how much service users appreciate the support that is out there for them and their families and carers. I also learnt that there is still a long way to go to overcome the health inequalities for people with Learning Disabilites.  

"I believe that events like this are important to raise awareness of learning disabilities, not just for the service users, their families, and carers, but also to educate and inform the wider public of how learning disabilities have an impact on so many people. Further, I am passionate about providing more activities to those with LD, to support them to live their lives to the fullest.”

Georgina Asozka, occupational therapist in our community learning disability team in Barking & Dagenham who attended the event said:

“I think events like this are important because they help us shape and develop new information on the care needs of the service users as their voices are heard, listened to, and acted upon.

"Today, I have learnt that having a friendly environment for our service users helps to promote independence, wellbeing and quality of life and that social activities are very beneficial and should continue to be part of their everyday lives.”

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