“Biggest Learning Disability Event” to be held in Torbay

(Last Updated On: June 11, 2019)

A major celebration event described as ‘the biggest of its kind in Torbay’ is being held in Paignton as part of Learning Disability Awareness Week.

A learning disability affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate. This means they can have difficulty understanding new or complex information, learning new skills, or coping independently. Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. It’s thought up to 350,000 people have a severe learning disability.

Learning Disability Awareness Week this year runs from 17th – 23rd June. This year’s theme encourages as many people as possible, with and without a learning disability, to get involved in activities in their local communities.

To help raise awareness of the issues people with Learning Disabilities face and the support available, a number of community organisations have come together to put on the “Better Together” event , for people with Learning Disabilities, their carers, family and friends.

“We believe this will be one of the biggest Learning Disability focused events to be held in Torbay,” said Pat Harris, CEO for local healthcare consumer champion charity Healthwatch Torbay, one of the hosts, “There are lots of fun activities planned throughout the day, where we really want to celebrate the lives of those local residents that do have a learning disability, whilst also letting them know about some of the wide-ranging support available to them in the Bay.”

A wide range of community organisations will be involved. South Devon College has provided the venue free of charge. 28 voluntary and statutory sector organisations from across Torbay have committed to having a stall or running an activity. They include, for example, Mencap, Rowcroft, Vocal Advocacy, Advocate 4 Autism and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Seven speakers have already been lined up. Talks will include having a healthy lifestyle, Transitioning, and Safeguarding. The event will also raise awareness about the “Treat me Well” campaign to transform how the NHS treats people with a learning disability in hospital.

Activities which have been designed to provide Health & Wellbeing information, tips, ideas, and support, will be provided by organisations which include Sensory Guru, Specialised Orthotic Services, South Devon College Gym Equipment, the Dawlish Garden Trust, No Limits Café, Cookability, and the Community Dental Van.

The event will be free to everyone and will be held on Thursday 20th June, 10.30am-2.30pm at South Devon College. Free parking will be available. Anyone wishing to attend can just drop in throughout the day.

For more information please call free on 08000 520 029 or visit www.healthwatchtorbay.org.uk.


You can join us on our social media pages, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and keep up to date with whats going on in South Devon.

Got a news story, blog or press release that you’d like to share or want to advertise with us? Contact us


Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!