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First Southend and SE Essex Learning Disability (LD) and Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) Hustings Media Release

Thursday April 25th 2024/ Highlands Methodist Church, Sutherland Boulevard, Leigh-on-Sea Essex SS9 3PT


The Making Care Fair Campaign is inviting every person standing in the upcoming local elections to take part in the first ever LD and SEND Hustings on Thursday 25th April 2024 at Highlands Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea at 11am.  This is an opportunity for candidates to meet residents who want to know about their views on how services for SEND and LD are running. 

(For anyone who doesn’t know a husting is an old world for meeting together during an election)

Making Care Fair ( is a local campaign, led by adults with LD, Southend Mencap and Blade Education.  MCF has been funded by the National Lottery, Essex Community Foundation and ROSCA Trust to raise the profile of adults with Learning Disabilities in Southend and SE Essex and to ask questions about how Financial Assessments are designed and organised in Southend and SE Essex.


Hustings Running Order

1100-1145 Welcome and networking

1145-1230 Local Leaders Panel Q&A

1245 – Photocall of participants

1255 Mr Robert Norton presents money to Southend Showstoppers

For more information about this event please contact Alastair or Beth or call 01702 533191 or join the campaign on Facebook

Background Information on Making Care Fair

Although the financial benefits that adults with LD can receive are a national UK Government responsibility, when an adult with disability needs any kind of care, this is handed over to Southend City Council Adult Social Care Department – which is one of all councillors’ key areas of responsibility. 

There are two benefits that an adult with LD can successfully apply for – one is Universal Credit (UC), the other is Personal Independence Paying or PIP.  PIP is supposed to allow a person with LD to live with the same choices as those who have higher IQs and is supposed to be non means tested (which means that it doesn’t matter how many other financial resources you may have) however, when a person with LD applies for a care package from Southend Adult Social Care they are expected (or their carers are expected) to fill in a Financial Assessment Form that takes the PIP into account. 

This means that some adults with LD end up with tiny amounts of income to be able to pay for the dentist, optician, or any living expenses, like food.  Making Care Fair is believes it is vital that those becoming the leaders of our community realise how that this needs to change.  Councillors also oversee the team that sets the tariff rates for Disability Related Expenditure (which is NOT a benefit but how much any adult with LD is able to keep of their only means of income) for many years advocates have been trying to understand how these rates were calculated.  Key elements for living like rent, water and lighting aren’t allowed to be included and even when an expense is allowed only part of the cost is covered even if a valid invoice or receipt is attached.


About Southend Mencap:

Southend Mencap is a registered charity that was formed in 1955. The charity’s main aim is to serve the interests and needs of children and adults with learning disabilities, as well as those of their parents and carers, in the southeast of Essex. Southend Mencap is able to use the name Mencap by being affiliated to national Mencap but that is where the link to them ends. Southend Mencap is a completely independent society/organisation, are self-governed and self-financed. They need to seek their own funding and arrange all services and activities for the learning disabled that they provide. There is no referral system to Royal Mencap, and they do not provide Southend Mencap or any of the other local Mencap societies with any income or funding. Any funding raised by Mencap never gets passed down to the local societies. The society has a board of trustees, who meet once a month to discuss with the general manager what has been happening both within and outside the society. All the trustees are volunteers, and, in total, the society has in excess of 80 volunteers across all their activities and they provide in excess of 100 hours support per week.

About Making Care Fair:

Making Care Fair is a project that will work with the Adult Learning Disability community in South Essex, to provide a campaigning voice to address the changes to the Adult Social Care charging system that have left so many Adults with Learning Disabilities without the Care Package they need to live their 'best life'. Making Care Fair has partnered with Southend Mencap and the LD Community to work with Southend-on-Sea City Council to help them understand the needs of the community and how their systems can help the families of LD Adults to keep looking after them in a home environment.
Making Care Fair is produced by local not for profit company Blade Education.

About The National Lottery Community Fund


We are the largest non-statutory community funder in the UK – community is at the heart of our purpose, vision and name.

We support activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable and that will strengthen society and improve lives across the UK.

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives. 

As well as responding to what communities tell us is important to them, our funding is focused on four key missions, supporting communities to:

1. Come together

2. Be environmentally sustainable

3. Help children and young people thrive

4. Enable people to live healthier lives.

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, we distribute around £500 million a year through 10,000+ grants and plan to invest over £4 billion of funding into communities by 2030. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life. 

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £47 billion has been raised and more than 670,000 individual grants have been made across the UK - the equivalent of around 240 National Lottery grants in every UK postcode district.



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Sharon Watson Web image.JPG
Caroline Walker Web Image.JPG
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Marc McOwens Web Image.JPG
Alison Halton Web image.JPG
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LD Adults


Making Care Fair: Social Media Posts


Mencap Social Care Crisis Page

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