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Joe’s Soapbox, March 2024

author icon author icon 11/03/2024 author icon Joe's Soapbox

The Time is Now

On the 17th April All Wales People First will be protesting outside the Senedd.

We will be joining the ‘Homes not Hospitals’ campaign organised by ‘Stolen Lives’.

‘Stolen Lives’ are a group led by parents and carers of people with learning disabilities.

The Campaign asks the Welsh Assembly Government to help prevent people with learning disabilities from being placed into secure units unnecessarily.

People with learning disabilities are being placed into secure mental health units just because the services they need cannot be provided.

A learning disability is not a mental health issue.

A learning disability is not a physical health issue.

Therefore, people with learning disabilities should not be in a hospital.

Some people with learning disabilities who have had health issues have not been discharged from hospital when they get better.

We have been told of one situation where a man has been kept in a hospital unnecessarily for sixty-six years.

They have been abandoned and forgotten about.

All Wales People First have been aware of this situation for a few years.

All Wales People First and its National Council have prioritised this issue as part of its campaigns sub-group.

Over the last few years the situation seems to be worse.

We were supposed to leave all this behind when we published the All Wales Strategy in 1983.

Wales led the way in Europe.

Wales is now going backwards.

The same is happening in England and Scotland.

There are similar campaigns happening there too.

All Wales People First and other third sector organisations have worked really hard to address this issue.

We have:

  • Written to ministers.
  • Spoken to ministers.
  • Raised the issue at national forums.
  • Filled in consultation responses.
  • Spoken up at National Conferences.
  • Written to local authorities and health boards.
  • Made films.

But nothing is changing.

In fact, as funds tighten, I fear things are only going to get worse.

Our National Council feel that All Wales People First has no other alternative but to protest.

We owe it to our members and other people with learning disabilities In Wales to make a stand.

We cannot idly stand by and watch Wales return to the dark ages of 1983.

We need self-advocates with learning disabilities in Wales to play their part.

We need the Welsh Government to take leadership on this issue.

To intervene and do whatever is necessary to stop anyone with a learning disability in Wales being institutionalised just because the services they need cannot be provided.

And to make sure that anyone with a learning disability who does go into hospital for a health issue only stays there as long as they need to.

All Wales People First pledges its support to the ‘Stolen Lives – Homes Not Hospitals’ protest.

Please come and join us at the Senedd on the 17th April, 1:00pm – 2:30pm.

Let us stand together!

Victory for Self-Advocacy.


  1. Clare Lucignoli

    I would love to attend so please can i have all details as my disabled son has been stolen and i am gagged.

  2. Laraine Bruce

    I worked in North Wales during all of the years of the AWS. Good things began to happen however much ceased once the ‘ring fenced’ funding stopped. This exposed leading people who had simply been ‘along for the ride”, learned the ‘jargon’ and many simply to gain job status. People with influence who didn’t believe their own rhetoric.
    I am now approaching my 80th birthday and l am deeply saddened when I see,(regularly) that nothing has really changed.
    How can I best help?

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