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

Messages from 'Having a good day' - Wider partnership working

What research tells us

Ordinary daily life means doing things in everyday community settings - in workplaces, around towns and villages, using libraries, public transport, leisure centres, allotments and so on. Social care services must build partnerships with community organisations and wider public service agencies to develop opportunities and facilities that people with learning disabilities can use in the same way as anyone else.

What’s happening in practice at the moment

Pointers for development

Practice examples

Working with community service volunteers in Somerset The Somerset Leisure Access Partnership was set up in 2003 by the Council working with Community Service Volunteers (CSV).  The project recruits and trains volunteers to support people with learning disabilities in social and sports activities.  For more details go to the account 'Getting a Life in Somerset’.

The Alumwell project. When neighbourhood housing offices based on local estates in the Walsall district were being disposed of, the day services commissioner stepped in and took two for free. A partnership has been developed with the Alumwell Residents Trust to develop one building as a community centre for local people. The Trust has used funding from the Fair Share lottery fund, administered through the Birmingham Foundation, to renovate the building. A local councilor is very involved with the Residents Trust, and a local resident is pushing for it to be really inclusive. There are exciting possibilities.

Holy Bones, Leicester. Leicester City Council social care services have contracted a local Sikh organisation to deliver a service for young Asian people with learning disabilities in transition to adulthood. The service runs seven days a week out of the Sikh community centre.

In Windsor, a partnership with a local girls’ schoollinked to the PSHE national curriculum led to a buddy scheme that has opened up community-based social activities for people in the evenings.

South Gloucestershire learning disabilities service funded a leisure and sports coordinator post within the council’s mainstream community services. The aim of the post was to support people into integrated provision, and there have been some successes. For example, 10 people were supported to use the local golf club and receive training from the golf pro. Two were then supported to join the golf club in their own right.

Following the withdrawal of a contract from a failing provider, the Learning and Skills Council in Nottinghamshire and West Nottinghamshire College worked together to create new provision for learners with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Provision is delivered, developed and quality-assured by the college, with specialist support and behavioural management provided by ASD expert practitioners. The arrangement is succeeding, and early discussions are taking place with local special schools to explore sharing sites, expertise and provision. It is expected that models of effective practice will be disseminated across the region.

From: 'Learning for living and work: improving education and training opportunities for people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities’, LSC (Oct 2006)