Carers to face further stress with end of Learning Disability Support says Armstrong

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has warned exhausted carers face further stress as learning disability support services face closure.

Kellie Armstrong carers

Last week, Mencap confirmed the Employment Support Service staff had been placed on 30 day protective notices. The people with learning disabilities on the Mencap programme will no longer be in receipt of employment support from 31st March 2023. This means their carers will now be required to fill that void and this comes after the carer exhaustion of the Covid years and lack of return of day centre and respite help. 

The Strangford MLA said: “Carers are beyond breaking. From April 2023 even more pressure will be placed on carers as they care for people with learning disabilities who are being further let down because of a lack of budget and financial security for organisations like Mencap. 

“The end of the European Social Fund (ESF) means many disability support organisations face an uncertain future. No budget, no letters of grant offer or contracts means no security of support. Disability organisations are closing down support because they have been let down by government. 

“The withdrawal of disability support programmes by organisations means carers will again have to pick up the pieces. The same exhausted carers who are financially stressed, and who are being left to deal with the fallout of a lack of government in Northern Ireland.”

Highlighting the importance of equality of treatment, Kellie Armstrong concluded: “The budgets being drawn up by government departments must be equality impact assessed to stop harm to people with learning disabilities and their carers.”