The Big Conversation

In May–July 2021 we spoke to people about day services in Merton for people with learning disabilities.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in the Big Conversation.
We spoke to people with learning disabilities about day services.
We also spoke with their families, carers and the professionals who work with them.
We have written some reports about the Big Conversation and what people said
This report has people talking in it. It is easier to read:
Big Conversation Report - Interactive version
This report is longer and harder to read:
Big Conversation Report - Detailed

We invite you to watch this short animation, which shows how our Big Conversation began and what the results were.

The Big Conversation

What is the Big Conversation?

“We spent time learning about daytime support in Merton for people with a learning disability and/or autism. We talked to lots of different people. “ 

“We set up a Reference Group hosted on Zoom. Lots of different local people were on it. They helped us with the Big Conversation”

“We set up a webpage, made a video and agreed the questions we wanted people to answer”

“We asked people to answer the questions”

“Then we met people, had online meetings and spoke to people on the phone”. “Lots of local people helped”

“381 people joined the Big Conversation. 192 people had a learning disability and/or autism. Other people were family members, professionals and support staff”

What did people tell us?

Adults and young people said they did lots of different things in the week. Lots of people went to school or college. A few people had a job. Lots of people went to a day centre.

“Lots of people said they got help from family members or other people too”

“Lots of people said they like the staff that support them during the day. People said they like to meet friends and do activities too”

“Lots of families told us their son or daughter needs someone to go places with them. They need someone to make sure the person is safe. Lots of families told us they want places to understand their son or daughter and make them welcome”

“Lots of families wanted their son or daughter to develop and learn”

“Lots of families talked about support at different times of the week. They said there should be different things for people to do”

“Lots of people and families and supporters talked about social time.”

“We asked families about daytime support in an ideal world. The families of young people said different things to the families of adults” Lots of families of adults said their son or daughter should go to a day centre 5 days a week. Families of young people did not talk about day centres much”

“We asked young people about their dreams for the future. They said things like having a job, getting their own place and earning lots of money”

“We asked adults about their dreams for the future. They said things like going on trips or spending time with family or friends. Some people said they wanted to spend more time at the day centre”

What about COVID 19?

“People told us things had been hard with Covid 19. They said they had not been able to go to school or college or the day centre. Or they had been able to go less. Lots of people did not get support.”

“Some families were left to support their son or daughter without help. People said they missed seeing people. Some people got lonely or anxious. Some family members did too.”

“We asked people how did Covid 19 make you feel? These are the words they used”

What did people say could be better?

“Some people said the way things work now is not very joined up. The person and their family are not at the centre”

“Some people really value day services. They wanted to say thank you”

People said it might be good to offer different activities at different times and in different places”

“People said that services for some groups of people could be better. The groups are: Young people, people with Autism, people who don’t get funded by social services, people who challenge services”

People said it would be good to find better ways for people to learn new things, to get jobs and volunteer”

“People said it would be good to have more places where people can meet friends”

“People said the council should find money to pay for more staff and staff training.”

“People talked about Direct Payments. They want them to be better than they are now.”

“Some people told us that communication is poor – with the council or between different services”

People said it would be good for supporters to be able to go to people more. This is called outreach”

“Some people and their families are happy with the way things are. They want to get back to normal. Some people and their families are unhappy with the way things are. They want something very different.”

More information

“We wrote two reports. One is longer and harder to read. One is easier to read.

Once you have seen this film the reports will give you more information”. The reports are on this website

Thank you

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped with the Big Conversation.