Gillian recently visited the Apuldram Centre, where she joined in with a silent disco and other exercise classes.
The centre supports adults with learning disabilities, in and around the Chichester area, and has done for 30 years; offering daytime occupational activities and supported living. Gillian visited the centre to meet with staff and those using their services to see what provisions are available locally and how they are operated.
Gillian was shown around by Rachel Aslet-Clarke, Chief Executive and Paul Reed, Chair of Trustees. During their tour, Gillian engaged with many of those at the centre, their parents and the staff. As the Minister for Care, Gillian was keen to understand every element of the operation and what more she could do to support their work. In her Ministerial role, Gillian has already made significant strides to improve the provision for adults with learning disabilities, late last year she supported the Down’s Syndrome Bill on behalf of the Government, which will place a duty on local authorities to assess the need of provision for people with Down’s syndrome and plan said provisions accordingly.
In a video she posted on Facebook after her visit Gillian clearly enjoyed time at The Apuldram Centre saying “it’s been an absolutely brilliant day, I’ve absolutely loved it!” Gillian went on to share why such services are especially important to her as an aunt to a young boy with Down’s Syndrome. After Gillian’s visit, Paul updated supporters in a newsletter describing the MP as “meeting and enthusiastically chatting with our trainees and staff, joining in a Silent Disco (outside) and Cardiac Drumming, before sitting down in the shop/café for a hot drink and the opportunity to hear from two parents - Martin and Louise - who were joined by Martin's son, Ed, and Louise's daughter, Ella. It was good to see and hear from Gillian and for her to hear about the difficulties and achievements in recent times; she seemed to have really enjoyed her visit.”