An exciting new charity is taking the lead to empower young adults with learning disabilities to choose where and how they live. Alessandra Morelli, daughter of Charity Chairman, Roberto Morelli Where I Want to Live has been set up by a group of like-minded parents and professionals with experience in the sector. The charity has strong links with Shropshire and the West Midlands. Two of the Trustees have grown-up children who were educated at Derwen College in Shropshire, and one of the acting CEO being a Shropshire-based Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) specialist.
Where I Want to Live is aimed specifically at improving the life choices of all young people with learning disabilities in England. For people with learning disabilities and their families, having the option to plan and choose where and how to live can open the door to a world of greater independence and opportunities. The Charity aims to provide the opportunity for those with learning disabilities and their support groups to access information about choices relating to their future lives, and to provide this in a range of easily accessible formats; also to signpost appropriate links to make it easier to make plans and navigate existing information.
Oswestry-based Louise Keevil, co-founder and Acting CEO, who has worked in the SEND sector throughout her career, says, “Legislation states that adults with learning disabilities should have choice and control over their lives and we believe this should be so. However, there is much evidence to suggest that this is not the case. We aim to provide resources and support through a toolkit to educate young adults and their support networks so that positive social change takes place, with choice and control becoming a reality.” The charity’s other co-founder, Roberto Morelli, whose daughter attended Derwen College, continues, “My Daughter, Alessandra is living a fulfilling life in a supported living environment surrounded by friends with all the care and support she needs. The process of getting her there, however, was extremely challenging. It required time, steadfast determination and a willingness to navigate a complex and bureaucratic process.
“It is fortunate that I had the appropriate background and resources to achieve such a positive outcome for my daughter, but this will not be the case for many others. This is not fair. With the experience I have had, I am committed to put an end to this.” The charity has set up a website www.WhereIWantToLive.co.uk, where people can register their interest – either to seek support from the toolkit, due for launch in early next year – or to offer their support in specific areas of expertise such as database management and Local Authority processes. Louise adds, “Our message is simple: We want to empower young people to have choice and voice about where they want to live.”