Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities

Messages from 'Having a good day' - Community capacity-building

What research tells us

Community capacity-building requires a strategic approach because it's about more than just supporting people to be present in the community. Doing an activity in a community setting does not mean people are achieving social inclusion. A community infrastructure that's welcoming to people with learning disabilities needs to be developed. Planners and managers have to engage more with the community outside the learning disability and social care world. It's happening in employment services, but the same kind of cultural change is needed in developing community day services.

What is community capacity-building?

'Community capacity is the ability and will of people who live in a locality to act collectively for their common good. This means everyone working together to make a better place to live.'

North Belfast Community Action Unit

'.the process of encouraging, enabling and supporting individuals, groups and organisations to build strong communities.'

East Lothian Learning Partnership, Community Capacity-building Forum

'. a systematic approach to assessing and increasing the level of organisation, support and resources in a community, by involving the people who live within it.'

University of Bradford School of Lifelong Education and Development

What's happening in practice at the moment

Key messages about further education

  • Further education is not providing an inclusive experience.
  • There is little emphasis on relevant skills.
  • There are insufficient 'exit strategies' for students.
  • Local FE and adult community learning services could work together better to provide joined-up provision.

Pointers for development

Practice examples

In the London Borough of Newham people with learning disabilities are supported to check local leisure services on all aspects of accessibility. They report back to both the leisure provider and the council's leisure services. This has resulted in more equipment and better facilities for people with physical impairments in two leisure centres, and the council's leisure service is now taking more of a lead by requiring more of providers.

Links and resources