I first found out about LB and his family when Mark Neary posted on facebook with the awful news about Connor’s death. Like other people, I was outraged and incredulous that this type of abject neglect could happen in a unit that was supposed to be staffed by people with expertise in helping young people like Connor who are at a crisis point in their lives.
Reading Connor and his family’s backstory and then following what has happened and is still happening in the aftermath of Connor’s preventable death, I’ve been awakened to the horrors of ATUs and moved to join the #JusticeforLB and #107days campaigns in order to do what I can to help.
Our school has an active PTA called ‘Friends of Bright Futures School’. We run regular events and had scheduled a jewellery party to raise funds for FBFS. When the #107days campaign was announced, we decided instead to use to the event to raise money towards the costs of legal representation at Connor’s inquest. We also hope to raise awareness of Connor’s preventable death and the subsequent dehumanising treatment of his family by Southern Heath Trust by getting some coverage in our local paper.
I’ve written here some thoughts on what I think are the components of a quality service for young people with developmental difficulties who are at a crisis point in their lives. Many others have made similar suggestions. There have been conferences, academic papers, TV documentaries and public inquiries about what has gone wrong in the ATU system and more widely in services for people with learning difficulties…..but on a weekly basis we are still hearing of more young people and their families who have been subjected to neglect, bad practice and abuse.
It is heartening to see the groundswell of grassroots support for #JusticeforLB and it is my fervent hope that we can harness our ‘crowd-rage’ to bring about the change that is needed.