Celebrating 100 years of learning disability nursing

This year marks 100 years of learning disability nursing and we joined colleagues at the wonderful celebration event which took place on Thursday 31 October at Bridge Community Church in Leeds.


The showcase event, marking the 100 year milestone, brought together nurses from different learning disability services in Leeds along with service users, carers and health and social care professionals.

The day provided a unique opportunity for guests to learn more about learning disability nursing, how it has advanced, what nurses do now and how the needs of people with learning disabilities are met in different settings.

We were invited to think about the past, present and the future at over 20 interactive information stands and also to share the special ‘100 years’ cake!

There was lots to learn about the history of care in the city and how it continues to evolve to meet the needs of service users, for example with measures to stop over-medication (the STOMP project) and the ‘Green Light’ toolkit which shares best practice to ensure continuous improvement of care standards.

Finding out about different routes into the profession, it was heartening to listen to stories from two of our new nursing associates, Michael Murdoch and Adrian Walker, about their learning journey and the love for what they do in their chosen career paths. Adrian is keen to become an advocate for the role, encouraging more support workers to develop their skills. Dan Redfearn, Senior Lecturer in Learning Disability Nursing at the University of Huddersfield, told us about school and college career events which encourage learning disability nurses to share their experience and enthusiasm with young people.

We moved on to find out about a recent co-production launch event – an approach which aims to engage people at the earliest stages of service design – ‘doing with, not doing to’. The Trust continues to make services accessible to meet the specific needs of people with learning disabilities and we listened to Dean Milner-Bell who has spearheaded the development of Easy-On-The-I visual resources for the Trust – there are now 3000 easy-read images available to our services which help our service users understand more about their healthcare.

Talking to the Transitions Team from Leeds City Council we discovered what care is put in place for young people transitioning into an adult setting to ensure people are cared for properly at every stage of life and whatever the complexity of their needs. It’s good to see how health care and social work partners in Leeds work together for the benefit of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

We especially loved the wire ‘100’ sculpture where guests could share a pledge about what they can do to keep moving forward to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities.

Here are just a few…

“More events like this!”

“More easy read information – we need it!”

“More joined up working.”



We were pleased to talk to Stacey Atkinson, the Lead Nurse for Learning Disability Services, who said: “It’s been a great day! Lots of information shared and it feels like a real celebration of our profession. Thank you to all our fantastic learning disability nurses who have contributed to the 100 years celebration. I am bursting with pride! We are a great service!”

The team created a very welcoming and positive space for the day and the community feeling was clear to see. There is such passion for learning disability nursing in Leeds and it is with great pride that our colleagues strive to make a difference to the lives of the people they support.

Photo montage

Adrian Walker and Michael Murdoch, Nursing Associates
Dean Milner-Bell at the Easy-on-the-I stand
Stacey Atkinson, Lead Nurse and Tina Edwards, Community Learning Disability Nurse
Lynn Dunion and Sally Beever from Leeds City Council
Annabel Black, Joanne Hainsworth and Jess Skillings talking about STOMP project
Dan Redfearn, Senior Lecturer in Learning Disability Nursing, University of Huddersfield