Connor Sparrowhawk – Gary’s video statement transcript

What happened to Connor was dreadful, very sad. A young man who was looking forward to the rest of his life died in a unit without any support whilst he was in there. He should’ve had the right support at the right time. He was used as, just as a patient, and not as Connor. Connor should’ve had his own help and own support and his own needs and wants needed. This is happening not just to Connor but to other people who have been in units before. And these units are stemmed from big institutions, and asylums which we would like to see closed. And we want to see these big institutions and asylums closed so people like Connor could be part of society and be part of the community we all want to live in.

The units and day centres like that are actually like workhouses and they were part of big institutions and asylums since the Victorian times. We need to get away from these big institutions and we want to see these institutions closed. This is a big campaign not just in the United Kingdom but the rest of the world. In America, Canada and Australia they’re campaigning for these big institutions to be closed. We should be thinking about care in the community and that’s what we should be thinking about. We should be thinking about seeing people supported in and helped meaning in the community.

So that’s what we need to campaign for. So people like Connor who was on the transition age coming out of school into adulthood would have all his support and needs wanted.

I can’t say how I feel over these big institutions because I never went to one but I have heard, y’know , people that have been in big institutions.

The word challenging behaviour is an outdated word and outdated name for people. It’s just segregation, its another label. We need to get rid of labels. Label jars not people. That’s the big motto. That’s what we’ve been saying for years. Stamp out labels.

Having this big label round somebody’s neck makes you feel like, not just a second class citizen but a third class citizen.

There should be better care for and support for people who have learning disabilities in the community. Big places, places like the Winterbourne and things what happened there should not be happening there. As I say, people need to be cared more into the community and the carers should get more support if they need to look after someone. And that’s what we need to make sure happens that we don’t come, have to the same situation what we had at Winterbourne. We want to see these people having better lives, better conditions, better support, better help and better care in the community.

We want to campaign with all our allies. We want to campaign with people with learning disabilities, other disability groups, carers, parents organisations, service providers to actually improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.