Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities
Messages from 'Having a good day'
- shift resources from day services into employment support. The greater the number of employment advisers and job coaches the higher the number of people supported into paid work each year.
- listen carefully to what people want to do. Some may not want paid work, and may be better placed as volunteers, needing a service that is outside the 'supported employment' model. This is a role that modernised day services could fulfill.
- ensure that work tasters or placements are strictly about experience or training and are time-limited, with help built in so that people move on into genuine paid work.
- expect that people can, and should work. Start early with offers of work tasters to young people.
- use stories of people's success in work to encourage employers, people with learning disabilities, family carers and others
- work with job centres so they increase their focus on people with learning disabilities
- develop care managers, social workers and day service staff so that they more actively and positively shape people's expectations about work.
- create local solutions
- nurture the support of family networks, friends and relations through good involvement and partnership strategies, and evidence of reliable, safe community-based practice
- develop deliberate practice strategies to build connections and inclusion, and thereby develop natural supports around people
- take things one step at a time and celebrate success so that others can see it's possible
- prioritise people with higher support needs to ensure they have the opportunity for individualised support and can take up opportunities in community settings
- work with people from black and minority ethnic communities to create solutions they see as acceptable
- develop wide partnerships to build a welcoming community infrastructure
- use capital money creatively, and not to create buildings 'for the service'
- invest in local leaders and champions
- create new job roles and responsibilities, and flexible working hours
- keep as much money as possible flexible and available for support - not tied up in running buildings.
- make sure that person-centred approaches are in place
- plan with younger people, in particular, in a person-centred way. Their families can then be involved in a natural way to help lead the plan.
- individualise funding: attach it to each person, especially people who need higher levels of support, so that community inclusion happens for them.
- recruit, develop and support staff to be creative and lateral-thinking, and to keep finding solutions as people change and develop their aspirations.
- make sure people get good information about choices, including stories from people who have pursued their own wishes and dreams and succeeded.
Key ingredients for success
'Having a good day' identified 13 key ingredients for building and delivering good community-based daytime opportunities and supports.
- Partnerships with people and families
- Cultural change in services
- Personalised planning with and for people
- Individualised funding and direct payments
- Smart commissioning
- Workforce planning and staff development
- Community capacity-building
- Good information
- Good transition planning and support
- Political will and support
- Skilled team management
- Wider partnership working
When all of these ingredients are mixed together local areas can achieve great results. Take one or two of the ingredients out of the mix and the desired outcome - people having good, community-based lives - is harder to achieve. Why not use the very simple Framework for reflection (26kb PDF file) based on the 13 key ingredients with people in your area to reflect on how the work to create ordinary daytime opportunities and support for people is progressing? It should help to highlight where things are going well, and where some extra input is needed.