New homes in Notts for people with learning difficulties

Nottinghamshire County Council has announced 20 new home placements for people with learning difficulties.

By Kevin Rogers
Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 3:14 pm
General Health tile
General Health tile

People with learning disabilities will move from secure hospital placements into the new homes in the community by June.

The County Council has allocated up to £3m towards the capital costs of new accommodation which will enable more people with complex care needs to be able to live in the community in the future.

Coun Muriel Weisz, Chair of the Adult Social Care and Health Committee, said: “Supported living means that people have more independence and can mix with their local communities, which we believe will give them a better quality of life in the longer term. We have allocated up to £3m to develop more supported living homes across Nottinghamshire.

“We’ve been working together with the six clinical commissioning groups on this challenging project and we’re very pleased that together we’ve managed to find suitable homes for these people by the June deadline.”

The Government set local authorities a challenging target of finding alternative homes and support for everyone with learning disabilities in their area who was living in a hospital setting by June – if they were assessed as being suitable for a move.

The target follows the review into the Winterbourne View Hospital in Bristol, which exposed a range of physical and emotional abuse of people with learning disabilities.

Eleven of the people will move into supported living accommodation, which is where people live in their own home which can be bought or rented and receive the level of support they need from an on-site

A report on progress will be presented to the Health and Wellbeing Board tomorrow.

County Council and health service are now working with providers who have the key skills and knowledge for working with people with complex needs in the community.

Robert and Pat Jennings from Mansfield Woodhouse were originally cynical about the idea of supported living for their son Peter, who has severe autism and learning disabilities. They believed he should be in a specialist residential unit but, when that didn’t work out, they struggled to care for him at home full time.

They eventually agreed to consider supported living and found that they could choose the house, the service provider and even be involved in the staff recruitment and training. Peter now lives in a three bedroom house five minutes away from his parents and has a team of seven carers to support him around the clock.

Rob and Pat said: “Supported living is very much superior to residential care because the whole service is built around Peter’s needs. He doesn’t have to go into residential care and adapt to their ways.

“Our aim at the beginning was for Peter to be as happy, safe and comfortable as he was at home and this happened very quickly. The next stage was to extend his range of activities, improve his health and fitness and make him happier than ever in his new home. He now also takes part in a wide range of activities including bowling, swimming, going to the cinema and, most recently, horse-riding. We couldn’t do this sort of thing with him at home because we had to cope with his challenging behaviour.

“Before Peter moved into supported living, we’d become social outcasts. We now have freedom but also the knowledge that he loves his new home. We can do things on the spur of the moment and we’ve also recently been on holiday to Australia to visit our eldest son and New Zealand to visit my older brother.”