How many more Winterbournes – A Statement from Sunderland People First – 23.5.19

Sunderland People First were shocked and saddened to hear of people’s experiences in Whorlton Hall, covered by BBC’s Panorama.  We have worked very hard since Panorama exposed the Winterbourne abuse scandal in 2011, to help raise awareness and improve experiences for people through the Transforming Care Programme.


Here are some thoughts from our advocates

It’s shocking – It’s a scary world if this can go on

It’s like a boil that is allowed to grow

How would you feel if that was your son or daughter going through this?

It shows a lot about a person’s character if they can do something like that

The systems checking that people are safe are not working

Unless we change the way places are run and the way people are treated when they need help, how many Winterbournes will there be?

There needs to be a cultural shift if we cannot see people as human beings

Why does this keep happening time and time again?

Why does it take a crisis for people to be given the care they need?

It is important that people with learning disabilities and autism are involved in inspecting services, and firmly believe that large institutions located away from communities should be closed and replaced with services that are visible and accessible to the public.

It is understandable in times like these to focus on on the negative, but we would like to acknowledge that there are many dedicated people working hard to make experiences better for people and remember that we have been involved in improvements resulting from Transforming Care.  We need to keep on this work and continue improving.

Lastly, we would like to thank the families of the people living through this, and particularly the family of Alex on their bravery in allowing their daughter to be shown on the Panorama programme, to enable people to see the people behind the abuse.

Sunderland People First attended a number of protests – Stripped of our Human rights.  Some of our staff were interviewed by BBC North East and Media Savvy – You can view the video here