The community’s three biggest learning disability organisations have launched an unprecedented joint consultation this week assessing demand for support services.
Charities Kisharon, Langdon and Norwood are teaming up to evaluate learning disability care provision and demand in the community, with a report detailing their findings expected to be published early next year.
Families, teachers responsible for special educational needs and local authorities have been urged this week to participate in the consultation through focus groups and interviews.
Figures from the think-tank Jewish Policy Research estimated in 2017 that some 23,000 Jews in the UK have some form of a learning disability, ranging from dyslexia to down’s syndrome.
Research carried out by Kisharon ahead of their school rebuild in Hendon suggests a growing number of young people were identified as having learning disabilities.
Langdon says the rate of referrals for its supported living service and college indicates there is a level of unmet need within the community.
Meanwhile, Norwood has seen a rising need for support at the point of diagnosis in very young children, most of whom will need some form of support throughout their lives.
Norwood’s chief executive Bev Jacobson said: “Individuals with learning disabilities have higher expectations for their lives than they did ten years ago.”
“This has led to an increase in demand for our services at a time when there is less funding and a shortage of accommodation,” she added. “We can solve this complex challenge far better together than we can each on our own.”
Langdon’s chief executive Neil Taylor said the consultation would allow the charities to analyse the impact further collaboration could have on services “in an increasingly challenging environment.”
The organisations have been wary of duplication in services, but Kisharon’s chief executive Richard Franklin stressed each of the organisations has “its own distinct ethos and caters to a different need in the community”.
“What we all recognise is the importance of prioritising the people we support in their relationship with the services on offer,” he added.