From Left to Right: Sheila Gregory (Carlisle Mencap), Rory Stewart MP, Team Leader Stuart Cowper, and beneficiaries Georgia and Erin
Rory Stewart MP for Penrith and The Border last week praised staff during a visit to the Grace Little Centre at Kingmoor Park – Carlisle Mencap’s respite care centre, which provides overnight care and support for those with learning disabilities living in the locality. The MP was given a tour by senior manager Sheila Gregory, where he met beneficiaries and chatted to staff about the important work they do in providing a wide range of services and support for people of any age and with different types of disabilities. Locally managed and funded, Carlisle Mencap is a membership organisation with over 150 members made up of people with learning disabilities, carers and other interested parties.
Rory said: “Sheila and the team at the Grace Little Centre are extremely impressive people, who use their local knowledge and passion to best serve their members, and tailor their support in only a way that small, local charities can do. I have consistently tried to highlight the importance of local charities such as these, and to encourage the wider local community to support and raise awareness of such a vital local resource. Everyone I met today is clearly incredibly dedicated, placing every emphasis on the people they support. As the brother of someone with Downs Syndrome, I understand well that respite care is something that is so important to carers, whose hard work we often overlook. I’m so pleased to be able to have visited today.”Sheila Gregory said: “We were delighted to see Rory today. There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. People with a learning disability need a friend in government. Why?Because every year 1,200 people with a learning disability are dying avoidably in the NHS. Because tens of thousands of people with a learning disability want to work but are struggling to find the right support. Because eight out of ten families supporting someone with a learning disability will reach an emotional or financial breaking point. I’m really pleased that Rory has shown he is listening to people with learning disabilities.”