Meet Leslie Macdonald Chair of Trustees at Reading Mencap, Leslie shares more about her experience of being a member of the Health Alliance including being an active participant in our Learning Disability and Autism Sub Group.
Tell us about yourself and your organisation?
I have been chair of Reading Mencap since 2011 working closely with our CEO Mandi Smith. Reading Mencap was started in 1962 by parents of children with a learning disability and we are still the only LD charity in Reading, offering an outreach Information & Advice Service, a range of clubs, including a self advocacy group, and two day activity services. We own our own building near the Royal Berks Hospital and provide supported living for 4 men on the top two floors of our building.
What services do you provide that relate to health / NHS?
Our Information and Advice Service currently has a health Family Adviser who is working on the promotion of Annual Health Checks uptake but who also promotes understanding of LD health issues including menopause in women with an LD. All our Family Advisers also address any health issues in their case loads including advising health professionals about reasonable adjustments and advocating for people with an LD where they have a complex health issue. We are also gathering case studies about where care support has not been sufficient to support a person’s need to access health services. I sit on the Local LeDeR steering group and help to raise the importance of including the voluntary sector when looking at a person’s life as we often understand our service users really well and the health inequalities they face. We also work with our local LD Health commissioner and GP, LD Lead, in the Berkshire West LD Partnership Group promoting Annual Health Checks.
What made you join the alliance?
It is important to keep working as closely as possible with local health services and this is a great opportunity to help promote the role of the local voluntary sector in the new BOB ICS.
How has being part of the group helped you?
We are starting to meet other local VCS, sharing ideas and forming strategies to promote LD health priorities in the new ICS.
Have you built your network since joining?
It is still early days but we are already sharing in a project to build an LD health resource base across the ICS area.
What would you say if you were to recommend it to others?
If you want to make a difference in LD health you need to join the Alliance
Links to connect:
Leslie on Linkedin
Read more about Leslie – Pride of Reading