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Have your say on services for people with learning disabilities

Have your say on services for people with learning disabilities by 9 July

Video transcript

In Merton we want people to have a great life and to have the opportunity to do meaningful things during the day. This might be work, leisure, exercise or other opportunities and personal interests. So we can understand what current day opportunities mean to people with a learning disability and explore what the future could look like, we are starting the Big Conversation, and we want to tell you a little more about it now.

Lots of people need help to do things during the day.

Some people might live with carers and both of them sometimes need a break from each other.

In Merton the council pay for daytime services and support and activities run by the council and by other organisations.

Some people get the support they need in one place.

Other people spend time in lots of places with help from different organisations.

Some people find great things to do during the day that are not run by support services.

Some people want to go to places that are not just for people who need support.

They might want to do activities or join groups but find it hard because places or activities are not accessible to them.

The council run and funds support and activities in day centres that work really well for some people but less well for other people.

Some people don’t want to go to day centres.

Some people need very skilled support together with accessible buildings and equipment– for example people who need a changing place.

Covid has made things hard.

People can’t meet up, some day-services have closed, and others are helping people in different ways. 

As Covid restrictions are lifted we need to make sure everyone gets to do what they want during the day in ways that work for them but are safe.

We want everyone to have the support they choose.

And to make sure that the money we spend buys the support that people and their families want and need, now and in the future.

Mainstream activities also need to be accessible.

We want to take time to get this right.

We will start with a Big Conversation - asking people what they think about the challenges and what they want in the future.

The conversation will take about 2 months but it is part of a much longer process.

We have developed some questions we want people to think about.

You can answer the questions by completing an online survey on this web page.

Or you can talk on the phone or face to face, join a meeting or tell us what you think in other ways.

If you need to you can get an advocate or someone else to help.

Please complete the survey now. Thank you.


Merton Council is currently embarking on an ambitious engagement programme with people who have learning disabilities, their families, carers and the professionals who support them.

We are re-evaluating the services we offer and buy for people with learning disabilities. As part of this process, we are reviewing what people do during the day – including centres run by the Council, services purchased from care providers and activities in the community.

As everyone knows, there has been a lot of disruption to services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are following Government guidelines to open up our services fully as soon as we can and we will let you know when anything changes.

We now want to improve your services and offer you the best range of community options and choices that build on your strengths in a meaningful way, and that are relevant to you and the people you care about.

For that to happen, we need your help. We invite you to tell us what you think directly or through your family, carer or professional support. We would like to know what your views are. We want everyone to have a voice and a say in what benefits them directly.

Take part in the ‘Big Conversation’

We will be starting the 'Big Conversation' on 17 May 2021. This is the main part of our engagement programme and is a series of surveys, chats and meetings through various ways, involving people with learning disabilities, their families, carers and professional support teams. This is an ongoing process, where we can hear the views of everyone who has an interest or say in current day services.

The good news is that you can connect with us straight away to let us know what you think. For a start, here is an online survey that you can fill in, which will help us to understand your views better.


Ways we are having the Big Conversation


To start the survey, choose the option that applies to you: 

If you would prefer alternative means to have your say, we can provide different ways for you to communicate with us, so that we can hear your feedback. We hope to meet later in person in June. We also have ways to connect with those of you who don't use speech and people who don't use the internet.

There are a range of options for people to engage with us, including online and arranging meetings in small groups or individual meetings.

For further information, please email Debbie John at Anyone who has no internet access can call Debbie on 07990 515632. 

The short animation at the top of the page will help you understand the bigger picture.

To help us liaise with everyone, we have commissioned a social enterprise called Community Catalysts, who conduct engagement events in health and social care.

What’s next

The 'Big Conversation' is a great opportunity for you to have your say. Through the different ways of speaking to you and hearing your voices, we can understand your views much better. We encourage everyone this concerns to participate in the Big Conversation. This will help us to offer you the kinds of day, evening and weekend opportunities that truly reflect what you've told us. It will be your chance to tell us what you think about services now and what you would like to see in the future.

The process is being led by Community Catalysts with help from Certitude, an organisation that supports people who live with learning disabilities, autism, mental health challenges and their families and carers.

The findings of the 'Big Conversation' will help us to evaluate better how we can improve our services in Merton, what areas need further help and how we can learn from other examples of good practice.

This process is just beginning and we want to get it right.

We are anticipating a lot of engagement and interest as we move forwards with the programme. Your voice counts and we would love to hear your views. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have a query.

Thank you for helping us with our engagement.

Do you have any questions?

If you have any further questions, please contact Debbie John on 07990 515632 or email

For more information on Community Catalysts, visit their website.