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Partnership approach to love scoops top award (03/12/08)
A Highland project helping support people with learning disabilities to be informed enough to develop and sustain safe sexual relationships has won the People of the Year Human Rights Award from a top disability organisation.
The Love is… training programme helps staff to support adults with learning disabilities to explore their sexuality, to access relevant information and services about relationships and sexual health, and to be treated with respect and dignity. The project’s been developed by the Highland Council in partnership with NHS Highland, Brook Highland, People First, Terrence Higgins Trust, the Highland Learning Disabilities and Relationships Group, Service users and carers.
The RADAR, People of the Year Human Rights Award 2008 was presented to the Highland team by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
NHS Highland’s Senior Health Promotion Specialist Lorraine Mann said: “Winning this award is marvellous: it gives us more drive and commitment and shows just how important this group of adults is.
“There were some very strong contenders for this award. This project makes a huge difference to people with learning disabilities who may have previously felt that their sexual needs have been denied consideration. We are now able to support and focus on these relations; Love is… cuts right to the heart of who we are.”
The Highland Council’s Director of Social Work, Harriet Dempster said: “It is a credit to the hard work of everyone involved that the project has won a top national award. We have challenged staff thinking because of our approach and the programme content and most importantly, we have created the best possible environment for service users who will now work with staff who are confident to discuss, acknowledge and promote the relationship needs of service users.”
Christine Fletcher from People First (part of Highland Community Care Forum) said: “This award really gives recognition to a project that breaks down barriers and challenges a taboo subject. It is a huge boost to everyone involved.”
Service user Lynn-Marie Bain said: “This award means so much to us because the project is so good. Being involved in the whole thing has been amazing. I was so excited I phoned my mum, dad and my partner because we were so chuffed to win.”
NHS Highland’s Director of Community Care Jan Baird said: This has been an excellent project that has given a meaningful voice to service users in the planning and delivery of training. I’m delighted to see the efforts of everyone who has worked on Love is… rewarded in this way.”