20th June – 24th June is National Learning Disabilities Week. Their special focus this year, set by Mencap, is on relationships and friendships. This theme seems a particularly fitting and pertinent theme for us all at Langdon.
At the core of the Langdon family and its values is that of empowering independence so that each and every person we support can fulfil their personal potential and enjoy a full and meaningful life with work, friends, family and community.
At Langdon, we understand only too well how vital it is to have friendships in our lives. It’s not necessary to have a thousand friends, but it is important to have a few good, strong relationships with people we trust and who add happiness and value to our lives. It is also as important to be a good friend,. The need for this is just as real for those with learning disabilities, though sadly, often the challenge to forge these relationships is very difficult. Learning disabilities can often inhibit social awareness and the ability to respond to social cues in the perceived “normal” way. Skills that so many of us may take for granted, such as being able to make eye contact with others, the awareness of social etiquette and understanding the give/take of a conversation and the confidence to speak with new people – for people with learning disabilities, can often be extremely difficult to cultivate. There persists within society still – although great strides have been made in diminishing it – an attitude of “otherness” to those with learning disabilities. Very many people with learning disabilities experience social marginalisation and isolation, which can lead to loneliness, depression and inactivity and, cruelly, can further compound the underlying constrictive characteristics of their disability.
Langdon knows that the key to true empowerment and independence, no matter what the learning disability, is the ability to communicate, to develop healthy relationships, and to engage with society.
Through our dedicated, passionate and highly skilled care teams, Langdon is committed to delivering quality social support and a full range of care. Our bespoke person centred plans help us to create a roadmap with each of our members, to understand their individual needs, including the social barriers, which must be managed in order for that person to truly thrive.
I am so proud of our full and varied programme of social activities, cultural and religious celebrations, holidays and events, across our communities in London and Manchester. Through our employment programmes and continuous support, we empower our members to enter the workplace and be part of a team developing another type of relationship: a professional one. For so many, this is a relationship which never seemed possible, and to be in a team environment, to have colleagues, to learn new skills and to have the structure of going into a workplace regularly with set tasks and responsibilities, is as cherished as it is vital.
The cultivation and sustentation of friendships and relationships is the lifeblood running through every part of true empowerment and independence. I, and the whole team at Langdon, are exceptionally proud of all our members, because with the right opportunities, they each and every one can and do thrive and shine.
Dianne Martin -Langdon CEO