A GROUP fighting for the rights of children and adults with disabilities has been told it has the ‘whole-hearted’ support of Andover and District Mencap (ADM).

Members of the Andover-based #NeedsToo campaign group met with the chief executive of ADM, Chris Dixon, on Wednesday last week at the Wellington Centre.

There they discussed the next steps of the campaign against cuts to children and adult services seen across the county.

Chris said: “It was a perfect opportunity to get together with members of the #NeedsToo group and find out the direction they are wanting to take this and align Mencap with that journey.

“They are the leaders of the pack. We want to align with ourselves but also what we want to do is give them some steering around what other campaigns are out there and who they can talk to – to use some of our contacts to get them in front of people higher up in Hampshire County Council so their voices can be heard.

“We whole-heartedly agree with the campaign they are on,” he added.

“We are stood in their corner as much as we can be as a voluntary organisation.”

The #NeedsToo campaign was set up in response to the national budget cuts which have seen vital services for people with disabilities either restricted or closed altogether.

Chris says the group’s spirit echoes that of Elizabeth Hall MBE, whose own campaign led to the founding of ADM in 1964, and that their aims “marry up” with ADM’s ethos.

Members of the group have already met with MP Kit Malthouse, voicing their anger over the situation during a meeting last month.

Now, with ADM’s support, members are hoping to speak to others in positions of authority in the near future.

Chris said: “We are looking to get some meetings with Phil North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council. We are looking to get some conversations with Hampshire County Council’s children’s services [department].”

“So our next steps are to get the families in front of these people in positions of authority and get them at the frontline.”

He added it is the areas in which there are gaps in services that ADM and #NeedsToo will be focusing on.

“The gaps — those are the ones that need help and need addressing and need picking up.”