Award-winning Café and Education Campaign.

Written by Clare Melvin

The-Dressing-Room-Cafe-sign-600x200The Dressing Room Café, in Chorlton, Manchester has won The Observer Monthly Food Awards 2018. The Café teaches adults with learning disabilities how to cook and handle money, however it isn’t solely focused on employability but also strives to improve confidence and build transferable skills.

Janine Waters, the CEO of the Edge Theatre is quoted as saying  “If we only took people who can work independently and go straight into employment, we’d turn down 80% of people who come here. We realised that, actually, a lot of the training is about developing independent-living skills, in personal hygiene or using an oven, which, now that people with learning disabilities are beginning to outlive their parents, is in many ways more important.

The Trainee stories in the article report on individuals like Thomas who have attended training to boost their confidence and social skills, and others like Jane, for whom the training has taught life skills like cooking, shopping, food hygiene and healthy living.

The Café is part of the Edge Theatre, a venue for national touring productions and professional shows.  It is community focused and aims to provide opportunities for all to participate in creative activities.  The Edge also runs a comprehensive participatory programme working with people who are homeless, vulnerable adults and young people using high-quality theatre and arts to transform lives.


Read the full story of the Dressing Room Cafe here and learn more about the award-winning Edge Theatre here.

Education Survey and Campaign for Children with Autism.

Ambitious about Autism have released a report identifying that nearly a third of parents of children with autism have had to give up logo2their job due to school exclusions.  As part of their We need an Education campaign an online survey was run between August 14 – October 2, 2018 and completed by 901 respondents.  The survey was designed to ask parents and carers of children and young people with autism spectrum conditions about their experience of the education system.

The survey revealed the extent that school exclusions have on employment, such that 30% of parents said they had given up their job as a result of school exclusions, 29% said they had missed days from work and 20% said they had reduced their working hours to part time.

The survey provided insight into the length of waiting time for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC), with nearly 40% waiting over 18 months for an assessment, despite the statutory 20 week deadline.

Furthermore, the reporting of ‘unlawful’ exclusions were concerning with 56% stating that their child had been sent home early, worked on a reduced timetable or asked not to come on a school trip.  These exclusions fall under the official radar as letters may not be sent nor the missed hours from being sent home early recorded.

Read more of the finding at on Learning Disability Today and you can find the full statistical breakdown of the survey findings here.


LD in the News



  • There are two weeks until the GLLDCOP free launch event! 7thcropped-greater-london-community-of-practice.png November 2018 at the Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury. Come along and join the new community providing opportunities for people with learning disabilities, families, carers and professionals. Find out more and Book your place here.
  • The Second Tizard Forensic Conference is being held at Friends House, London on December 19th 2018.  This conference is about people LD and/or autism in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and will explore issues about autism and the CJS, and consider how screening for intellectual disabilities is advancing in various parts of the Criminal Justice System (eg police stations and prisons). There will be presentations on new treatment programmes available in prisons and in the NHS/health sector. Talks will also cover recent and forthcoming changes to probation services and consider the progress made through the Government’s Transforming Care programme.  This conference is suitable for carers, health professionals, staff from social services, probation services, prisons, police, lawyers and people with learning disabilities themselves. Find out more and book a place here.

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