THE pandemic has been hard for everyone, but none more so that a group of people who have more challenges than most at the best of times: those living in our community with learning disabilities.

While the rest of Wales in Level 1 can go to cafes, pubs, concerts, mix with friends and family and resume some kind of normal life, people with learning disabilities are a forgotten group.

Under the guise of ‘protection’, their rights to any kind of meaningful life have been eroded and, in some cases, removed entirely. Day centres and activities have closed, some seemingly permanently; people are not being allowed to meet with their friends and family; kept under lockdown because of repeated false positive Covid-19 tests.

It is as if their mental health and emotional wellbeing is totally unimportant. Those in care homes are denied access to family life; those cared for by their families have no respite, no variety, no activity.

I believe this is a burgeoning crisis that is catastrophically and needlessly impacting many lives, lives of young, active, sociable people with a lot to contribute, who are being swept under the carpet and forgotten.

I implore Welsh Government to issue clear guidelines to loosen restrictions and not allow individual care homes to choose how they implement them. I ask anyone who has a friend or family member with a learning disability to speak up.

I’ll finish with direct quotes from people I know with learning disabilities.

‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take.’

‘I don’t want to wake up.’

‘I want to come home.’