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BILD - All About People
Saturday 18 January 2020
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Then and now

40 years lead pic

APEX, BILD's Journal of December 1974 shows a dormitory ward—called 'H Block'—in a long stay hospital of the early 1970s.

Move forward to 2015, and young people are moving into their own homes for the first time and, increasingly, looking to move into paid employment. There is a lot still to do, but there has been great progress for many.

BILD's journey — forty years on

Alan Jefferson image

2011 wasn’t just BILD’s 40th Anniversary, it was also 40 years since I began my training as a social worker.

High on the social policy agenda at that time was the aftermath of a number of shocking exposes of poor quality care of people, including those with learning disabilities, living in large institutions. It was a time of high optimism and we believed we were going to help change the world for the better.

Looking back, there have been many positive developments. The large institutions are largely gone, and life opportunities for many people have greatly improved particularly now that personalised budgets are more common.

It is very encouraging that the horizons for people with learning disabilities have widened, that they are much more in control of their lives and that there are many more opportunities for contributing to community life. There is a greater likelihood than in 1971 that people will be treated with dignity and respect.

That‟s the glass half full, but in the last 40 years, and very recently, there has been plenty of evidence of the same sort of poor quality care that we got worked up about all those years ago.

For the past 44 years BILD has championed people with learning disabilities and has been in the forefront of prompting and promoting improvements in good professional practice. I am proud that, for the last 20 years, I have been able to be a part of BILD.


Alan Jefferson
Chair of BILD Trustees

BILD's journey

Gerry Simon - BILD's founder

1971: BILD
begins in a
time of change

More >

close to home cover

1980s: Courses
and events that
led the way

More >


1990s friends

1990s: A time of growth and people's voices being heard through advocacy

More  >

Build for the future 1
2000s: Listening to the real experts and working within
harder to reach communities

More  >

Timeline: 1960s and early 1970s

timeline 1 1970s