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  •  First Minister Mark Drakeford has asked people to keep taking steps to protect each other and keep Wales safe from the wave of Omicron cases. Unfortunately, cases of coronavirus have risen sharply to their highest ever levels as the Omicron wave has surged across Wales in the post-Christmas period. Although the Omicron variant may not be as severe as initially feared but the speed at which it is travelling and its infectiousness continue to be cause for concern. For this reason, the Welsh Government will be extending the alert level 2 for at least the next 10-14 days.   General Guidance  The Welsh Government has announced that in alert level 2 people must:  Wear a face covering (unless there is a reasonable excuse not to wear one) in all indoor public places, including when not seated in a pub, café or restaurant. Meet no more than five other people at a café, restaurant, pub or other public premises (unless with their household of a larger number). This applies to both outdoor and indoor areas of the premises. Work from home if they can. Self-isolate for seven days if they test positive for COVID-19. People should take a lateral flow test on day six and day seven. If either test is positive they should remain in isolation until two negative lateral flow tests or after day 10, whichever is sooner. Not take part in an organised event indoors of more than 30 people or outdoors for more than 50 people. All organised events must be organised by a responsible body and have a risk assessment. People are also being encouraged to follow strengthened guidance to help them stay safe at home, this includes limiting the number of people they meet who they don’t live with, to flow before you go by taking a lateral flow test before going out, meeting people outdoors wherever possible and making sure indoor spaces are well ventilated.  Find the full announcement here. These restrictions came into place December 26 – see our post about it here. Below we have reported the changes in more details and what guidance haven’t been changed:    Self-isolation  From 31 December, if a person is currently self-isolating as a positive case or a person tests positive for COVID-19 they must self-isolate for 7 days. On day 6 of isolation, they should take a lateral flow test and another test 24 hours later. If both results are negative, it is likely they are not infectious.   However, if either of the tests taken on day 6 or 7 are positive, the person should remain in isolation until they have had two negative lateral flow tests or day 10 – whichever is sooner. A positive result on either day six or seven indicates the person is likely to still be infectious and therefore at risk of passing on coronavirus to others.   Please read the full announcement and find links to orders tests here.   Testing  From the 6th of January people who are unvaccinated contacts of positive cases and are self-isolating for 10 days should now take a lateral flow test on day two and day eight instead of a PCR test.  If a person showing no symptoms has a positive lateral flow test they will no longer be advised to have a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result, unless they are in a clinically vulnerable group, which may need early access to treatment or have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme.  This change is to help reduce pressure on Wales’ testing capacities as there has been an increase in demand for PCR testing all over the UK. Please read the Welsh government’s full statement here.   School & Education The guidance requiring staff and secondary school learners to wear face coverings in school, including in classrooms, has been continued into the new term and schools and colleges have been asked to plan for the most protective measures in accordance with the framework in use in schools and colleges.   Testing in School & Education settings  The Welsh governments most updated guidance says:  All staff and secondary age learners and above are now strongly advised to use (and to report the results of) Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) three times a week as a method of identifying asymptomatic cases. It is also important for staff and learners to do so prior to their return to school or college this week.  Children and young people aged 5-17 and fully vaccinated adults are now asked to take LFTs every day for seven days if they are identified as a contact of a positive COVID-19 case. This is known as ‘Daily Contact Testing’. We have made additional LFT kits available to primary schools across Wales this week to help support this change.  Those who test positive must self-isolate for seven days. On day six of isolation, they should take a lateral flow test and another test 24 hours later. If both results are negative, it is likely they are not infectious.  Schools and colleges are able to order and distribute one pack of 7 LFTs to each member of staff and secondary aged learner and above on a weekly basis so these individuals should not struggle to access tests.  This term will have moved to a nasal only LFT for use in schools.  Also, the bureaucracy and administration associated with the distribution of tests will have been reduced to make is easier for individuals to access tests and for schools and colleges to administer them.   Please read the full announcement here. Supported Living Guidance   There have been no changes to the supported living guidance, for you reference you can find the guidance here.   Care home and Social Care Guidance   There have been no changes further to the advice in place over the festive period. For reference you can find all guidance here.   If you have any further questions relating to carers of people with learning disabilities please get in contact at admin@allwalesforum.org.uk   Take care   The AWF Team 

  • Happy New Year to all,  We hope you all had good and safe holidays.  We are “virtually” back in the office and working through our emails, if you have got in contact with us over the holidays, please bear with us, we will get back to you as soon as possible.   There are new opportunities for Carers Voices to be heard this new year and we appreciate any time you can lend to making sure carers are part of these:   Carers ID Research Project – Carers Experience Matters.  We are working with Queen University Belfast to connect carers to research highlight some of the key issues carers faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. To express your interest in taking part in this research, please contact us at caringcommunities@allwalesforum.org.uk or contact Trisha Forbes from the Queens University, Belfast directly, Trisha.Forbes@qub.ac.uk    Get to know Multi-Me! 25th Jan 10am –12 pm   Multi-Me is a Digital Advocacy Toolkit, that allows people to take more control over their lives and connects people with learning disabilities, family carers and care workers together.   Work with us to explore the latest digital platforms available to families to share experiences, support and stay connected.  Sign up for the event by clicking here. Want to know more in the meantime? Why not check out Multi-Me’s videos here.    Staycation Community Network – Facebook Group   Built with family carers and professionals of people with learning disabilities, the Facebook group is the beginning of a national family network to exchange information, tools and resources in order to make Wales more accessible for learning disability families. Access reviews and make your own and become part of a group of like-minded people 😊   Please remember to read and accept our rules! To join the group please click here.     The Respitality model – The journey continues…   The model that is looking to have the hospitality industry and the carers of people with learning disability community supporting each other as part of the same fabric of society. Based on the successful Scottish project and our partner Respitality Scotland, we are ready to start working on the finer details of the model and to start piloting it in Wales.   What is Respitality? Watch our partner’s animation video and find out more. Interested? There is still time to join! Email us at caringcommunities@allwalesforum.org.uk stating your interest, we look forward to hearing from you.     Direct Payment Portal – Flintshire Are you a parent carer of a person with learning disabilities in Flintshire? Would you be interested in trying out Direct Payments? We have an exciting opportunity in the area Please get in touch as soon as possible: email us at caringcommunities@allwalesforum.org.uk     Thank you for your time reading this,  Any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch!   Take care and looking forward to speaking to you soon  The AWF Team  

  • The Welsh Government has today given an  update to guidance for Wales around Covid measures. These will come into force from Boxing Day onward. To help you and loved ones stay safe this Christmas, the Welsh Government strongly advise everyone follows these 5 measures:    * Consider limiting the number of people visiting your home – no set number has been placed on this, but it is strongly advised to not have lots of different households mixing indoors at the same time. A suggestion of no more than three households has been offered, alongside the suggestion to space out social interactions on different days. * If people are visiting, make sure they take a lateral flow test in the morning before the visit you or before you go to visit others.  * Meeting outdoors is ideally better than indoors. If you’re meeting indoors then try to keep spaces well ventilated. * We still need to adhere to sensible physical distancing and washing your hands. Wearing masks is not required at home, but may be an added precaution you might want to take if you have vulnerable at home.   In terms of supported living providers and residential care settings, all providers are to make use of their risk assessment processes they have in place to help plan visits as safely as possible.  However, it is important to note that today’s announcement does not place a ban or restrictions on visiting, other than the sensible advice provided above. Lateral flow tests are likely to be required for those who are visiting. We hope that existing plans for visiting will remain in place for you all as families, unless there is a covid case either in your family or within your loved one’s home/residence.    The most up to date care home guidance can be found here   The Welsh Government will not be making new legal rules about mixing in people’s private homes, including gardens, in holiday accommodation or meeting outdoors, but has issued the above guidance to support safer social mixing over the next few weeks.    Some of the other legal measures being put in place include:   A general requirement of 2m physical distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces, where reasonable. The rule of 6 will apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres. All licensed premises will need to take additional measures to protect customers and staff, including table service and collecting contact details. Face coverings will be required in hospitality settings at all times apart from when seated. Large events will not be allowed indoors or outdoors. The maximum number of people who can gather at an indoor event will be 30 and 50 outdoors. (We’re not yet sure on how this may impact on community support services in public or private buildings  – but we may see a temporary return to reduced numbers in community buildings or planned activities. We know that for some areas services had not yet returned to normal levels, so this would be an added frustration. ( Please keep us aware of any issues in the new year when services are due to resume. We will update when we get any further clarification.) There will be an exception for team sports, up to 50 spectators will be able to gather, in addition to those taking part. There is also an exception for events involving children.   Last week new measures were announced for workplaces and retail (extra measures in place to protect customers and staff, such as one-way systems and physical barriers) – these will now come into force on Boxing Day. Nightclubs will also close on Boxing Day.   Read the full announcement here.   We recognise that further restrictions will bring a mixture of emotions to us all as families this Christmas. We are pleased to see that we can all still spend quality time with our loved ones, and that some measures have been put in place to help manage the risks of the new variant. However, we are also concerned by the potential variety we may see of how the new restrictions are implemented over the next two or three weeks. We will continue to work with you, our partner organisations and with Welsh Government to try to ensure any new measures do not impact unfairly on Learning Disability and Autism families across Wales.   Please remember that the Wales Learning Disability Helpline will be open throughout December for wider queries and concerns;  Call or email Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm including bank holidays. 0808 8000 300 helpline.wales@mencap.org.uk In the meantime, we wish you all a healthy and peaceful Christmas break. With best wishes, The AWF Team 

Welcome to our website

The AWF is unique among Learning Disabilities bodies in Wales in that it is the only organisation that represents nationally, collectively and solely the views of Parents and Carers of people with learning disabilities. We are an umbrella body for locally and regionally based organisations and support groups made up of parents and carers. Our wider alliance partners share a commitment in working to improve the rights and recognition of parents and carers and families supporting loved ones living with learning disability. The Forum is also governed by parents and carers, ensuring that our client base has a clear input into the strategic direction and core work of the organisation.

The Forum prides itself on our capacity to reach out across Wales and make real changes, including influencing policy, supporting local alliance groups, engaging in innovative projects and highlighting key areas of need that are yet to be addressed fully.

We achieve most of our work through the true spirit of partnership and shared resources, and we believe that in the future years this method of working will not only continue to prove effective in delivering outcomes, but it will also become essential if we are to continue to generate innovative and essential support solutions to families across Wales.

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Advice helplines


Carers UK provides high quality advice and information to carers and the professionals who support carers. Staffed by experts, they have years of experience of dealing with the problems carers face.

The Advice line is open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm, tel: 0808 808 7777

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Mencap WISE is a free service that offers support, advice and information in English and Welsh. The service is available to everyone in Wales, whether you are a person with a learning a learning disability, a family member or a friend. They can give you the information you need to understand the rights of people with a learning disability and to support them to access services or challenge decisions.

The Mencap WISE Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, tel: 0808 8000 300

Community Groups

Brecon Carer Groups
Bridgend Parent and Carer Group
Caerphilly Carers Group
Cardiff and the Vale Parents Federation
Ceredigion Carers Forum
Community Lives Consortium Relatives Forum
Conwy Connect – Carers
Denbighshire Carers Forum
Learning Disability Flintshire
Gwynedd LD Carers outreach
Knighton Parent Carer Group
Powys Carers Groups
Mencap Carers Support Group,
Anglesey Mencap
Carmarthenshire family support

Merthyr Carer Action Group
Monmouthshire Carers Group Montgomeryshire Family Carers Centre
Montgomeryshire Open Door parent carer group
Newtown Newtown Carers Group
Parents for Change, Newport
Pembrokeshire Carers Group
Radnor Carers Group
Rhondda Cynon Taff Carers group
Smile Parent Group
The Carers Outreach Service, Bangor
Welshpool Carer Group
Ystradgynlais Parent Group
Llandrindod Wells Carer Group

Mencap Carers Support Group, Anglesey

Denbighshire Carers Forum

Learning Disability Flintshire

Ceredigion Carers Forum

Wrexham Carer Group

The Carers Outreach Service, Bangor

Gwynedd LD Carers outreach

Conwy Connect – Carers

Newtown and Welshpool Carer Group

Montgomeryshire Open Door parent carer group

Montgomeryshire Family Carers Centre

Radnor Carers Group

Knighton Parent Carer Group

Brecon Carers Group

Pembrokeshire Carers Group

Ystradgynlais Parent Group

Mencap Carmarthenshire family support

Merthyr Carer Action Group

Monmouthshire Carers Group

Rhondda Cynon Taff Carers group

Caerphilly Carers Group

Community Lives Consortium Relatives Forum

Bridgend Parent and Carer Group

Parents for Change, Newport

Cardiff and the Vale Parents Federation