LB’s now been back from his five day PGL adventure for three days. And all we know is that he was ‘shunned’ by the boy he shared a room with, he went abseiling and ate chips. He says he had a good time. He says his room mate scared him. He says he had to sleep with the light off, which also scares him. He says he doesn’t want to go again. But then he didn’t want to go in the first place.
Oh, and I also know there was a ‘staff change’ on the Saturday in the middle of the trip.
This was LB’s first ‘adult’ holiday. It was organised by a
care provider company who seem to have a good reputation. As I wrote earlier, there was no choice involved. We haven’t been shown any evidence of the ‘quality’ of this company (or any other company for that matter). The local authority obviously use this company but that don’t mean diddly squat. The company has glossy brochures. A bouncy, cheerful worker does home visits and gets the forms signed. A cheerful woman picked him up and dropped him off. There is a cracking performance of bright, breezy and cheerful. But what do we really know? There’s that screaming question; Why should we trust you?
Maybe I’m being overly protective. Maybe LB went off, had a great time and loved every minute. I hope so, but that’s not the point. It just ain’t good enough. I know, historically, learning disabled people have had a crap deal, but the current context of Winterbourne, the crapheap that is the CQC, the increase in hate crime against disabled people, and so on, is hugely concerning. LB, like many other dudes like him, is vulnerable. He doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body, is loyal, loving and great company. But he doesn’t have any resources to defend himself.
I don’t like this discourse of ‘care providers’ when profit is often be the motivating factor in their operation. What ‘care’ are they providing? Are they ‘caring’ or is it more about containment? I have no personal issue with the particular company that was involved in this holiday. I have a broader issue with the way in which LB has already taken his first step into adult (almost) services and already the foundation of lack of information, choice and control is laid.
Oh, and a ‘staff change’ during a five day holiday with a group of young people like LB, in my book, is a complete fucking no no.