A CHARITY has found the perfect people to combat the bullying of those with learning disabilities – the victims themselves.
United Response are keen to raise awareness of the bullying and harassment often experienced by people with learning disabilities on public transport.
As a result, they set up UR Consultants of Liverpool, employing adults with learning disabilities to take the anti-bullying message into schools, colleges and other bodies.
Feedback from the disability awareness training sessions has been remarkably positive.
One teacher said: “The students benefited hugely and I feel the session genuinely challenged and changed the pupils’ perception of people with learning disabilities.”
And one pupil said: “They should be proud of what they are doing. It would be great if they could come in again and if other groups had the opportunity to experience what we did.”
National learning disability charity United Response founded UR Consultants to tackle the widespread bullying of adults with learning disabilities, funded by Liverpool City Council and then Merseytravel.
Veronica Astor, from United Response, said: “The reason the training has made such an impact is that the trainers are themselves people with learning disabilities and have experienced first hand the issues that they discuss with their audiences.”
For many of the trainers, it has been an opportunity to gain paid work, often for the first time.
Training in learning disability awareness has now been delivered successfully to over 30 schools across Merseyside, and to police and witness protection units.
A member of the Transport Police said: “I found the consultants informative and feel the course was delivered well. Using their own experiences made awareness greater.”
And after a session at Liverpool Community College, three students undertook training and now present sessions themselves. They will soon be going back to the college to talk about their experiences in paid work to encourage other students to think about employment opportunities.
Clare, Gerard and Katrina say they have grown in confidence since joining the consultants and know that they have helped to stop bullying.
One of the consultants said: “UR Consultants is important as you are doing a job, getting paid and being valued. I’m not here to change the world but I’m here to make a difference.”
Contact Veronica Astor, tel 0151 263 8644