Voiceless: unrepresented, disenfranchised, invisible, ignored, forgotten, abandoned, overlooked, disadvantaged, unspoken.

We have been working for a considerable time with adults with learning disabilities and in the last year or so have found ourselves getting very angry at what we would see as ‘voiceless’. We would like the examples below to become infrequent.

We have observed life choices being decided by others and have found it difficult to question it. We have only been able to suggest solutions.

We believe that everyone we create/work with has capacity to make decisions.

2 ADULTS want to attend the same drama session – their support workers decide it’s not appropriate for them to be together so only one can attend. We think they should both be able to attend and let us manage the relationship within the context of our workshops. We lost that battle.

After a family bereavement the mail of X is being re-directed to the executor without an explanation to X – surely this is against the law for Royal Mail to do this? As we said our participants have capacity. We are no longer sending X mail directly–we are getting information to X via a convoluted process.

Y has been involved in ‘an incident’ – we are unable to get any contact details for Y–a key member of our Band, who is an excellent role model for their peers. Sadly for now we have lost contact.

We have had numerous carers say our workshops are unaffordable (£5–£15 per session) so some adults with learning disabilities have not been able to attend. Who is deciding how their money is spent?

Sometimes sessions are missed because there is no support staff available. You or I would never put up with such disenfranchisement.

Our frustration is great because we know by engaging people in the arts we would be able to provide support and much needed creative release to counter a lot of the above.

All it needs is for individuals to be enabled by independent advocates to make informed choices, and be supported to administer their personal finances.