Hi readers, it’s Emily and William here, hoping you’re having a good start to the new decade.

In November some of us at People First Dorset (including me, William) were pleased to meet with the new Chief Executive of Dorset Council Matt Prosser, and Vivienne Broadhurst (Acting) Executive Director People (Adults & Housing). Matt invited us because he read our article in the British Medical Journal about the abuse at Whorlton Hall (on Panorama). He wanted to find out what we think life is like for people with learning disabilities in Dorset.

He asked what is going well and not so well. I enjoyed telling him about our projects; how we can make friends and reduce our loneliness, how we are becoming empowered to speak up about our concerns, and ways we have taken action to address different problems.

I think he was surprised at how much we are doing to support people, though we are only scratching the surface! He really listened to us, asking us questions about our lives in general. I told him about my volunteering and how People First Dorset has changed my life.

He suggested we meet the council business team, to share our thoughts about their new four year plan. We met a week later and they really listened to our suggestions. We meet again soon to hear what they’re doing with our ideas, and how the plan is going.

Both meetings were a great opportunity, and we felt heard and valued. It’s important in our work that we communicate closely with the local authority because we all want people with learning disabilities to have the best possible outcomes. We can do this better when we all work together.

Thank you Matt and please come to an event sometime this year as we’d love to see you!

The writers of the Our View column are supported in their editing by The Friendship Club– a project for adults with learning disabilities, run by People First Dorset