For some time now, we’ve had a bit of a beef with Mencrap in the Justice Shed. Not least because they continue to make the extraordinary claim to be ‘the voice of learning disability’. A claim so inappropriate I don’t really know where to start. I’ll just leave it at their failing service provision (details of which are buried deep on their website…)
Well, and the ludicrously extravagant Strategic Executive Assistant to the CEO post currently being advertised to do the work that the CEO should probably be doing herself.
George has written about her experiences of working for Mencrap and, more recently, of daring to challenge the organisation on live television. Post Victoria Derbyshire, there was further approbation from a couple of parents on twitter. Including a baffling post about ‘Two mums’ that seems to accuse #JusticeforLB of being the equivalent of a Young Ones tribute band. Ho hum.
Anyway. Back to today. The Telegraph (I know) ran a spread about Mencrap CEO, Jan Tregelles (JT). This coincided with Mencrap’s Learning Disability Week and was published in their Lifestyle/Women section.
What did we learn from this article?
JT dined at the Sloane Club that day (a reference for typical Telegraph readers) and “Mencrap’s about giving people with learning disabilities the opportunity to experience life to the full”. She doesn’t mention it but I hope the learning disabled people she took with her enjoyed the “posh lunch with the great and good”.
The new Mencrap campaign faithfully reflects JT’s vision for learning disabled people. Such power and omnipotence. Blimey. I hope she’s using it well….
How are you using it JT?
Oh boy. This generated some sandwich related mischievousness on twitter. Not surprisingly. From the Sloane Club to cheese sarnies down a well in the space of a few sentences*.
JT could not peg her true colours to the learning disability gravy train she is riding more openly. Empathy? What about empowerment, autonomy, civil and human rights… ?
Sadly, the article doesn’t end there. It rattles through clothes, grooming, family, number of marriages and volunteering at Citizen’s Advice where something (not revealed) ‘clicked’ and bounced JT to Mencrap where she became PA to the ‘director’. From there it was PA to CEO.
And a series of statements so blinking depressing/enraging:
I just wanted to do something that I wanted to do.
I would have done it for nothing.
I could do support work now though.
Why, when you get on a bus and there is someone a bit odd are you instantly fearful.
We need to equip people to see someone with a learning disability as a person…
Now Jan. I know you’ve blocked me and you ain’t interested in anything #JusticeforLB has to say but seriously, if you really want to make a difference, you are going totally arse over ‘immaculately polished’ tit about it.
- Public attitudes really ain’t the main problem. The establishment, including Mencrap, is.
- In Learning Disability Week the focus really ought to be on learning disabled people.
- You should have a look at Learning Disability England. This fledging organisation has a more legitimate claim to the voice of learning disability already.
- I really wouldn’t do support work if I was you. I’m not sure you’d be very good at it.
- There are some serious issues around what Mencrap as an organisation do. Not least the services you provide. If you need the support of a Strategic Executive Assistant perhaps the focus of this role should be less about public relations, media and project management objectives and more about actually improving people’s lives.
But what do we know?
Postscript: To those who think it’s heresy to critically challenge ‘the voice of learning disability’, I say do one. After you’ve done the sums.
*Turns out sarnygate was freeloaded from this Brene Brown Tedtalk… (thanks to FionaQuigs for the sharp spot).