Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities
10 key tasks - Key task 2: Changing the model to community life
- Listen and learn! Know what’s going on, keep in touch with the practical realities and help people with the everyday challenges of making 'modernisation’ work. Don’t be distant, stay involved and show people that what they are doing matters.
- Give people a clear picture of the direction of travel: towards ordinary daily lives. Use mission statements, strategy documents, presentations, briefings, any opportunity at all to reinforce the message.
- Build confidence: back up 'the vision’ with very concrete plans that show how it will be achieved, and with examples from practice that show it’s do-able.
- Explicitly address the concerns and fears of people with learning disabilities, staff and parents in your plans, with a set of actions that you can keep to. Respect people’s position by working with them to create acceptable ways forward that 'fit’ and are coherent with the direction of travel. See other suggestions in Partnerships with people and families.
- Put together a leadership team: identify and develop leaders from different groups and organisations who will drive change forward. See more ideas in the Leadership section.
- Use theChecklist for community developments (17kb PDF file) and the Don’t dos in the Smart commissioning section to appraise developments so far and as a blueprint for future provision. Services need some principles for development to make sure that all new initiatives fit the direction of travel and will achieve the desired outcomes. See the example below of what Pure Innovations does.
- Keep senior managers and local politicians informed. Better still, get them involved so that they feel they own the developments. Plan tactics carefully and deliberately to get their support. There are more practical suggestions in Political will and support.
- Pay attention to the sustainability of services that are successfully supporting people in community-based activities. Target secure core funding to services that are achieving good 'ordinary life’ results.
- Make sure that service managers charged with implementing day service modernisation are knowledgeable and skilled in change management and project management. Get people with the right skills and approaches into these positions.
- Look 'outwards and around’ and change the way you think about your job. Develop your lateral thinking skills and your knowledge of community development work, community capacity-building, regeneration, business and employment development. There’s some more information in the Key Ingredient sections Community capacity-building, Skilled team management and Wider partnership working.
- Stick at it. Commitment to seeing plans through really helps!
Since moving from the local authority in 2005 (with agreement from social services), Pure Innovations in Stockport has been eligible for funding not available to local authorities. The service has a clear set of principles: it will not do anything that does not result in people with learning disabilities taking on valued roles in their community. The service currently runs a museum, a community radio station, cafés in several local museums and historic houses, and a high street café. People are working alongside park wardens to maintain and upgrade local parks. One day centre currently remains and is gradually supporting people to find new opportunities. Employment and volunteering are the core elements of the organisation, and self advocates and parents are important players in its management.
Hackney Independent Living Team’s day service team moved away from a buildings-base a few years ago. The team supports several people with quite complex needs, including people with autism, so the organisation invested in multi-media training and support and in specific skills training. People supported by the team now have visual diaries and prompts, and staff use more structured approaches. People who have been excluded by other services are using community facilities and public transport with very individualised support.