Human Activism is a collaborative project funded by The University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University with the support of a number of Community Partners. This is a responsive project that seeks to share information about the day-to-day challenges faced by people with learning disabilities and their supporters in times of austerity. We welcome your stories of the cuts and examples of good practice; so please contact us on info@humanactivism.org

David Cameron’s Big Society initiative is built on the idea of ‘active citizens’. This idea has been used to justify the rolling back of welfare support and reducing benefits. These changes have disproportionately affected disabled people especially people with learning disabilities.

Our research has found that austerity is drastically affecting many areas of their lives including employment, their communities and their self-advocacy support networks.

The 'active citizen' is meant to be independent and self-sufficient. But people with learning disabilities have told us that to be an active member of society means being interdependent: being supported by and supporting other people in our communities.

Their stories show that people with learning disabilities and their supporters have developed exciting and innovative ways of promoting interdependence but the future of many of these projects and initiatives is uncertain because of austerity.

Our research highlights some of these stories under the banner of Human Activism.

Explore the stories, find help and inspiration, explore how you can be involved and consider our recommendations for policy makers.

Let us make sure that the cuts do not undermine the rights and lives of people with learning disabilities in the UK today.

Dan Goodley

Dan is Professor of Disability Studies and Education at the University of Sheffield


Katherine Runswick Cole

Katherine is a Senior Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University


Community Partners

The project was supported by Speakup Self-advocacy in Rotherham, BOSS Employment in Bristol, Pete and Wendy Crane (Inclusive Living Advisors), and Helen Smith and Max Neill (Community Circles Coordinators, Lancashire), Molly Mattingly (Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities) and David Fiddament (MENCAP).

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