Telford MP Lucy Allan has today visited a service in Ironbridge run by learning disabilities charity, Hft, to find out more about the work that it does to support people to live the best life possible.
On Wednesday (22 June) the local MP was given a tour of the organisation’s Shropshire services and had the chance to meet people supported at the site as well as staff.
As part of the visit Lucy met with Hft Regional Manager for Shropshire and Staffordshire, Heather Sinnott, to hear how the new living wage will impact on Hft’s ability to deliver services.
Whilst Hft is supportive of the introduction of the National Living Wage, they are campaigning to have the government meet the shortfall they face from the increased salary costs so the range of care and support offered can continue.
Speaking after the visit, Lucy Allan MP said: “It was great to meet with the people supported by Hft and their staff to see first-hand the excellent work they do. Hft deliver excellent services tailored to individuals needs.
“Hft play an important role ensuring people with learning disabilities have the best possible quality of life. The commitment and dedication is instantly clear to see and we are fortunate to have such a service based in Telford.
“The national living wage is a positive step forward to ensuring that everyone receives a minimum level of pay that they can live on, but there are clear challenges that employers will face in meeting this new obligation.”
Heather Sinnott, Hft’s Regional Manager for Shropshire and Staffordshire said they were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the work that they do at Ironbridge, which provides residential care and supported living for people with a wide spectrum of needs.
“I was pleased Lucy could visit our service in Ironbridge to see for herself the tremendous job our staff do on a daily basis to support people with learning disabilities and to listen to our concerns about the National Living Wage,” said Heather.
“We fully support the payment of the NLW. It is a good policy but it has created an unsustainable situation for all support providers and will threaten everything we have worked hard to achieve for the people we support in this area.”
At the meeting Lucy pledged to bring this issue to the attention of the DWP and seek a debate on the subject of care for the learning disabilities.
Hft currently supports more than 2,500 people with learning disabilities across the country by providing specialist care and support that helps people to live with more independence, choice, dignity and control.
Picture 1: l-r Heather Sinnott (Regional Manager for Hft) Tom (service user), Lucy Allan MP and Madeleine Cowlery (trustee)
Picture 2: Tom with Lucy Allan MP