People with learning disabilities experience greater risk of poverty, unemployment and poor housing. They are also more likely to feel lonely and isolated, as well as to have health problems and to experience mental health issues than people without disabilities.
During the pandemic, these inequalities have only worsened, leaving people with learning disabilities in an even more vulnerable situation than before.
One of our funded groups, the Elfrida Society has been providing specialist advocacy and giving guidance, information and support to the learning disability community in Islington, as well as helping people to arrange food and medications deliveries. They have also been offering support over the phone, to ensure that people have someone to talk to every week.
“The Covid-19 shielding and lockdown requirements has brought to the forefront how disproportionately disadvantaged vulnerable sections of the community are. This is predominantly tangible within our beneficiaries and employees with learning disabilities.”, explains Dolly Galvis, CEO at the Elfrida Society.
With lockdown starting to ease down, the Elfrida Society anticipates new challenges for their clients, as Dolly says, “what will be equally challenging is that we expect the needs of the community we support to continue to increase in the immediate future – loss of income and increasing debt and poverty, the pressures of isolation resulting in greater mental health needs or an increase in safeguarding and care needs as well as coping with the loss of loved ones”.
The Elfrida Society has worked in the borough for more than hundred years, supporting people with disabilities and their families, but also campaigning for inclusivity and against injustice, to ensure that people with learning disabilities have the same chances and opportunities to succeed in life and that their voice and rights are represented.
Money from the Islington Giving Crisis Fund provided laptops to ensure people with learning disabilities, especially those employed by Elfrida, are not digitally excluded. Thanks to Islington Giving and other grant-making organisations, the Elfrida Society will continue to provide vital support in Islington.
“Everything I’ve had (support) is good, I’ve been very pleased. It’s a bit lonely on lockdown, it’s nice to have the weekly phone calls they really help.”
“Marcus has been really helpful during lockdown. He’s helped us with our electricity and gas bill, and with our phone repairs.”
(Elfrida Society clients)