Our History

Parent Pressure

Parent Pressure was set up in 1985 by parents of people with learning difficulties to campaign for better, inclusive services for their sons and daughters. Their aim was to influence policy and change attitudes through lobbying and informing Lothian Regional Council and the Scottish Executive. They were influenced by the work of John O'Brien, John McKnight, and by ideas such as Brokerage, Circles of Support and Person-centred planning from America and Canada.
They were impressed by pilot projects in Wales that looked at new ways to support people with learning difficulties to live more independently and by the Lothian Centre for Integrated Living where people with physical disabilities hired their own personal assistants.

Parent Pressure were concerned that their sons and daughters had spent years in segregated settings and wanted a more inclusive life for them as they were about to leave school. Their sons and daughters had high support needs and required one-to-one support but Parent Pressure were convinced that with the proper support their young adults could access community resources and services.

In 1994, after years of campaigning, Parent Pressure succeeded in getting funding from the Scottish Office, Lothian Health Board and Lothian Regional council for a transition course at Telford College as a three year pilot project. Students, with their support workers, attended mainstream college classes according to their interests, and were included in the educational life of the college. The Telford project was tremendously encouraging and the lessons learned paved the way towards planning and developing a service for these young adults when they left college.

West Edinburgh Development Group

The West Edinburgh Development Group (WEDG), now known as EDG, is an organisation that develops innovative, high quality services in response to the wishes of people with learning difficulties and their families. They had experience in accessing funding. In response to demand from its membership, WEDG had developed a proposal for an Access Agency, to support people to access places and activities of their choosing, and were seeking funding for this in 1996/7. Parent Pressure had links with WEDG and with other professionals interested in person-centred planning and circles of support.

Parents and Professionals Go Into Partnership

Parent Pressure joined forces with WEDG and other interested professionals to create a new organisation to provide a community-based service for their sons and daughters at the end of the Telford pilot project. It was to be called Inclusion Alliance.

People First Lothian, a self-advocacy group for people with learning difficulties, also wanted to see an alternative to Day Centres. They were very supportive of the Inclusion Alliance proposal and two of their members joined the Management Committee which was formed in 1997.

Inclusion Alliance could not have evolved without political will. The Convenor of the Council's Social Work Committee, keen to provide more inclusive services, backed the proposal for Inclusion Alliance which went to Committee in September 1997. Funding was granted for one-to-one support for up to 13 adults with learning difficulties to enable them to live the lives they choose and be active participants in their own communities. A Management Committee was formed and in January 1998 Inclusion Alliance became operational.