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

10 key tasks - Key task 3: Organising resources for change

Important things for commissioners and managers to do:

Practice examples

In the London Borough of Richmond the local authority, as commissioner, is developing a productive partnership with a number of local provider organisations to develop integrated whole-life support. It is working in partnership with United Response, Mencap, Owl housing and others to develop individual plans with people and then support them to go out to do the things they want to do directly from where they live.

The local authority day service in Stratford, Warwickshire has moved from a large day centre to four smaller community bases. There is also a baseless service that supports people to do things directly from their homes. The staffing for that service, which operates during the day and some evenings, is mainly being achieved by actively managing the hours of staff working from the four bases. Four staff spend at least some of the week with the service, alongside its one part-time member of staff.

The Garstang Deanery Project near Blackburn is a partnership between the Blackburn diocese and local authority social services. It focuses on social inclusion and aims to build natural supports and divert people from using day services. Money from a day centre post has been transferred to the project to make it happen.

Following the closure of Little Plumstead Hospital, Norfolk County Council established a service to support people moving from the hospital. The Community Support Team gives individualised support to around 90 people. Each person receives one-to-one support in the community to socialise, join clubs, undertake leisure activities and keep up with friendships. Each person is helped to decide how they want to spend their time, and people receive varying amounts of support, most commonly three days a week. People can choose to be supportedat the weekend or in the evening and to take natural breaks away from home. There is no day centre base but a wide range of community locations are visited from home according to what the person chooses.

Shropshire’s local authority learning disability services embarked on day service modernisation in the early 1990s. Some people were travelling for three hours or more to get to a day centre: more local provision was needed. Three local bases were initially developed. An SSI inspection in 2001 then recommended the approach be extended. Capital of £800,000 was allocated by the local authority and, in all, 16 bases with their own teams of staff have been created. The aim was to close all three of the large day centres by the end of 2006. People with high support needs receive an integrated service. Capital funding has been used to ensure that the new community bases are accessible and have appropriate equipment. One community centre had a changing bed and hoist installed into the football changing room ('it works well’); a personal care area was funded and built at Ellesmere Town Hall in return for reduced rental for the rooms people use; three new community centres are being funded through the PFI programme and the service will be using part of these new community buildings. Most of the bases are shared community buildings and it’s mostly local people who use them. Staff teams are tapping into local things that are happening and supporting people to take part. This has all resulted in people having a more valued and respected role in their communities.

The local authority in Bromley has developed a contract with the Shaw Trust to develop social firms. Staff have transferred from the local authority day service under TUPE arrangements to support people working in a catering enterprise and on a cemetery maintenance contract, with more firms developing. There are specific targets within the contract for people with complex needs, not just people with moderate learning disabilities who are already quite independent, but those needing a great deal of support who may have profound physical as well as mental impairments.

Download Shaw Trust Factsheet.

Links and resources

Useful resources and sources of information onfunding streams: