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New figures revealed to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat show people with learning disabilities feel isolated and lonely

January 19, 2016

A press release published with many thanks to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat:

Exclusive figures revealed to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat from charity Mencap suggests hundreds of thousands of people with learning disabilities are being left isolated and lonely because of attitudes towards them.

The charity spoke to 338 people aged 18 to 35 and its research found nearly half want to spend more time outside their homes. A similar number told Mencap they don’t go out with friends as much as they really want to.

The research also revealed around a third spend less than one hour a day outside their homes on a typical Saturday. Nearly 34% were worried about being bullied and more than a quarter are worried about being laughed at when they leave the house.

The charity says “some will face barriers in terms of people’s attitudes”.

Rossanna Trudgian is Head of Campaigns at the charity and says a lack of job opportunities creates barriers for many. “Some people with a learning disability won’t even have the chance to leave home. That’s because of high unemployment rates with a learning disability. We know that only 6% of people have a paid job and that means they don’t have the independence that a job can provide.”

Vijay Patel, 27, told Newsbeat he gets lonely because of his learning disability. “I do get cut off, because people like me, we are not able to get out a lot. If you are stuck at home, there is nothing you can do and you can get bored, I feel disappointed. I want to get out there and do something, I want to get a job and hopefully I will be happy.”

Newsbeat spoke to 21-year-old Michelle about her life with a learning disability. “I get nervous when I don’t know which places to go. I got put off going out because I had an incident once on the bus. There was a lot of noise from the school kids, one of them actually upset me and made me cry. I felt like I didn’t get my opinion across and I have just quit college because I didn’t feel like I could go back. Some people don’t know that people with a learning disability suffer that much and can’t go out. People don’t realise that there are people out there with a learning disability.”

The survey also explored issues of isolation for young people with a learning disability, finding that;

o   30.1% spent less than 1 hour outside their homes on a Saturday.

o   49.3% would like to spend more time outside their house.

o   44.6% do not think they spend enough time with friends.

o   17.8% feel alone and cut off from other people.

o   33.7% were worried about being bullied and 25.7% worried about being laughed at when leaving the house.

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