Campaigner Humie the new chair of learning disability advisory group
First Minister Mark Drakeford has tapped into nearly 30 years’ experience of championing disadvantaged groups by appointing Humie Webbe to chair the Learning Disability Ministerial Advisory Group (LDMAG).
The group advises the Welsh Government on issues influencing the lives of people with a learning disability in Wales and those who support them.
Helping to shape Welsh policy and practice by sharing information and expertise and engaging with the community, the group’s members come from a variety of different backgrounds, including health, social care, research, voluntary sector and parent/carer representatives. Established in 2012, LDMAG meets quarterly.
Equality and diversity campaigner Humie, 60, who lives in Cardiff Bay, has a 31-year-old son, Saul, who has a learning disability.
As the strategic equality and diversity lead at the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), she encourages and engages with people in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and those with disabilities across Wales to promote opportunities afforded by apprenticeships.
Previously national diversity co-ordinator for Mind Cymru’s Time to Change Wales campaign, Humie has spent nearly 30 years working in the public and community sector.
Honoured to succeed former AM Gwenda Thomas as LDMAG chair, she is looking forward to her first meeting in December. “I was appointed because of my background of working with people with learning disabilities, which is something that I am passionate about,” she explained.
“It seems that my work at the NTfW on the inclusion agenda and increasing opportunities for disabled people has been brought to the attention of the Welsh Government and I was recommended to the First Minister and his ministerial team.
“I was told they were looking for somebody who had experience of chairing meetings, understood Welsh Government policy and was able to drive the group forward but in an inclusive way.
“I am looking forward to supporting my co-chair from All Wales People First in her role. The group was set up to inform Welsh Government policy by including people with learning disabilities who are supposed to benefit from their programmes.
“It’s important to ensure that everybody has their say. I have had to fight for my son to get the best possible support for him through school and college, so I know how difficult it is for families to provide services for their children.
“I also understand the way in which you have to work to ensure that people with learning difficulties have their say. People express themselves in so many different ways and you have to enable that. This group is a brilliant way to ensure that people with learning difficulties have a way to communicate.”
One of the group key roles is to provide strategic leadership and support to the Welsh Government, particularly relating to its Improving Lives Programme, launched last year to improve the lives of children and adults with a learning disability in Wales.
“The idea is to ensure that people with learning disabilities are included and have a say on policies and services that affect them,” added Humie. “The Improving Lives Programme looks as public services to ensure that there is best practice, especially around safeguarding issues and funding for people in education, employment and housing.”
Humie’s working life has been dedicated to helping people from BAME communities achieve a voice and her tireless efforts were recognised with two prestigious awards earlier this year.
At the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement Association (EMWWAA) Awards, she was joint winner of EMWWAA ‘Social and Humanitarian Award’ and one of three recipients of Rhodri Morgan Ambassador Awards.