The Project “Life Alert” was launched at event in AMH Promote with special guests including, Lady Sylvia Hermon MP, Peter Weir MLA, Councillor Anne Wilson, representatives from the PSNI and DPP and the Life Alert team.
AMH Promote is a training centre in Conlig run by AMH (Action Mental Health) which teaches adults with learning disability to be more independent and to train for job placements in the community.
The project “Life Alert” began about three years ago to raise awareness of Learning Disability within the local community. Who better to raise awareness than those with learning disabilities, speaking about the problems and difficulties they face to a range of small audiences including, school children and teachers, student social workers, District Policy Partnerships, local councillors, and more recently new citizen advocates.
The group consists of Martin Mahood, Hilary Gammon, Louise McBride, Alan Webster, Josie Morton and Sarah Johnston. They are all supported by Elizabeth Lightbody (Bryson House Advocacy Service).
The clients from AMH Promote came up with the name “Life Alert” as it represents the important point they want to get across; they want everyone around them to be alert to those living with a learning disability, they want them to be sensitive to their needs and to just to give them some thought and consideration.
Working in partnership with the PSNI and in particular Ken Butler, “Life Alert” made its debut at South Eastern Regional College in Bangor, and since then the group have grown in confidence. Much of the content of these informal meetings is a question and answer session. This has proven to be the best way of involving the audience in the discussion and raise their knowledge of Learning Disability especially amongst school children.
Some of the topics covered have included the range of difficulties our clients can face in their community in particular, bullying, housing issues, and accessing community services. They have also helped their audiences understand their disability and what it is like to have a Learning Disability. They have talked about how the community can help them and what upsets them. Our clients have discussed equal opportunities and how they want to have the same rights as everyone else, for instance, the chance to go to college.
The Group has put together a number of “Life Alert” wallets to be handed out when they visit businesses, shops and centres. The wallet consists of contact information for individual. Posters have been distributed to promote the project. Adults with a Learning Disability in the Bangor area can be reassured that when visiting a shop or public place displaying the “Life Alert” poster that they are somewhere where staff are sensitive to their needs and have an understanding of their disability. Those who sign up to Life Alert are supporting the government’s strategy to promote social inclusion for all those with a learning disability.
So if someone presents a “Life Alert” wallet to you, please take a moment to read the information, everyone should feel valued and part of their own community. Everyone deserves respect and understanding.
You can contact the Life Alert group at AMH Promote T 028 9127 5953.
You can also download a copy of the Life Alert Poster.