This virtual event will discuss living with a learning disability/difficulty and what steps society and government take to achieve more inclusion. The event will be Chaired by the CDG's Policy Lead and Deputy Chair, Michelle Lowe. The panelists for the event are as follows:
About Michelle Lowe - (Chair) Michelle joined the CDG's Executive in March 2020, and is March 2021 was elected as one of the two Deputy Chairs of the Group. Michelle is the CDG's lead for Policy issues and development and engagement with our growing membership. She is particularly interested in widening opportunities in society for disabled people. Michelle first became aware of the challenges disabled people face from the experiences of her mum who has an invisible disability.
Michelle is also the former Cabinet Member for Housing and Health at Sevenoaks District Council and served on the Council for many years, including as the Deputy Leader. During her time as a District Councillor she worked to make the area more accessible for disabled people and their families and carers.
In the 2017 General Election she stood as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the Coventry South constituency, and in 2015 in the Coventry North East constituency.
Follow Michelle on on Twitter: @MichelleLowe14
- About Annabel Tall - "As a single mother to three young men one of whom has a learning disability I have had the rewards of watching my middle son Freddie grow up into a superb young man, full of enjoyment of life. Freddie has Downs Syndrome, Autism and has bilateral hearing loss with implanted hearing aids. He is currently at Foxes Academy, a residential college in Minehead studying catering and when he graduates, he wants to work in the hospitality industry. Freddie has needed considerable help and advocacy to be able to access the services he’s needed and I have 22 years of first-hand experience navigating local authorities, education, social care, welfare and the NHS to ensure he gets what he needs.
"Over the years I have worked as volunteer legal advisor on IPSEA’s (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) national advice line, set up a Downs Syndrome Support charity in Bristol and run support groups for families and children. I work as a Constituency Assistant in Liam Fox’s Parliamentary Office and handle much of the case work for children with disabilities.
"As a District Councillor in North Somerset I led a campaign to increase availability and uptake of Direct Payments in the county – the numbers rose from eight into the hundreds. I am currently helping a group restart the 'Downs Syndrome APPG' which sadly folded after the 2015 General Election. I have stood twice as a Parliamentary Candidate, for Bristol West in the 2017 General election and Bath in 2019.
"In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors. I am a qualified Mountain leader and enjoy mountaineering, climbing and ice-climbing."
Follow Annabel on Twitter: @annabeltall
- About Jonathan Smith - Jonathan is a recent member of the CDG Executuve, 29 years old and is a very enthusiastic and active member of his local Conservative Association, South East Cambridgeshire. He has mild cerebral palsy and a moderate learning disability. For the the last 11 years, he has enjoyed various advocacy roles. At FE college he was a course representative, a student governor and Student Union Equality and Diversity Officer. Most recently, he has become a member of the Eastern Regional Stakeholder Network, representing a local Social Enterprise.
Finding paid employment has proved difficult, but Jonathan tries to keep busy with volunteering and work experience. He also takes part in various church, community and political activities. He is keen to explore ways in which people like himself can be supported into some form of paid employment.
This event is for CDG members. To register for this event please visit the contact section of the CDG website.