Funding for learning disability projects

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A host of projects across Scotland are set to benefit from £2.7million to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.

The funding is going to projects across Scotland which will help to close the inequality gap that people with a learning disability face.

Initiatives include helping people with a learning disability get back into work, encouraging children with a learning disability to be more active and creating opportunities for participation in lifelong learning.

Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said: “We know that people with learning disabilities can experience considerable health inequalities and that barriers often exist to being able to access services.

“This funding is targeting specific areas which continue to affect the lives of people with learning disabilities, with the aim of helping to close the inequality gap that they often face.

“These projects will help to build on the important work which is already taking place within health boards, local authorities, universities and third sector organisations to provide a range of services for people with a learning disability.

“This funding is part of the ongoing development of our new learning disability policy following on from the original learning disability policy The same as you? which was published in May 2000 .

“Investing now in preventative measures, such as increasing physical activity, will help to avoid further interventions in the future and help to reduce the burden on public services.”

Projects to receive funding include the ‘Get active be healthy’ programme, run by Glasgow University, which has had a proven effect on physical activity levels and maintenance of a healthy weight among children with learning disabilities. The project will benefit from £25,000.

The Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD) will receive funding for a number of initiatives, including Project Antenna (£15,000) which is helping to address inequalities in access to lifelong learning, and the employment champions programme (£30,000) which sees people with a learning disability who are in employment speaking at events to encourage others into work.

Recent figures show that the overall number and proportion of adults with a learning disability known to be in employment or training for employment increased in 2011 (3,839 to 4,046 and 14 per cent to 15.5 per cent respectively).

NHS 24 will receive £50,000 to develop a learning disability zone within the NHS Inform website with information specifically designed for people with a learning disability.