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London with Kerry

Hi readers, it’s just me, Kerry here this week, writing from the back of a black cab, en route to Waterloo station on a sunny Thursday afternoon.


It’s my first trip to London with work for some years, and great to be here again. I’ve been to a conference with Zoe and Laura from People First Dorset (PFD), called ‘Can you Feel the Love Tonight’. Adrian, from the Elfrida Society, also joined us. He lives in London, so met us there, and like me, is a wheelchair user.


So, what was this conference about? It was to look at research projects which help improve our understanding of, and support for, people with learning disabilities and autism, around sex and relationships. Various academics, and people with lived experience, talked about their work and findings.


Why research this? Well, you may agree that for anyone, the world of relationships and sex can be tricky. It can be especially difficult for people with learning disabilities and autism, for many reasons. One is that some, (no, not all) carers and families think we don’t need, or want, sexual intimacy, or ‘shouldn’t’ have relationships. Another is that some supported accommodations don’t allow partners in the home, so getting private time is impossible.


We wanted to go to the conference to learn how we might improve what we do at PFD, because relationships and friendships are very important to our members.  I’ve come away realising how good, and important our Friendship Club project is, as it helps so many of us in Dorset to make friends in our community, and for some, meet a partner. I’m not sure if there’s anything else like it, that’s free, in the UK.


More next week, but for now thank you to Claire Bates at Supported Loving for putting on this fabulous day!




The writers of the Our View column are supported in their editing by People First Dorset - a charity led and run by people with learning disabilities with support from staff


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