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

10 key tasks - Key task 1: Empowering people

Important things for commissioners and managers to do

  1. Read the Key Ingredient sections on Partnerships with people and families and Leadership. They contain a lot of guidance, resources and links that are about supporting people to move from the passenger seat into the driving seat.
  2. Develop user-led community provision.
  3. Increase take-up of direct payments and independent living funding (ILF).
  4. Individualise budgets (see the Key Ingredients section on Individualised funding).
  5. Develop a supply of good personal assistants and support staff for people to use.
  6. Keep developing person-centred approaches and planning.
  7. Develop inclusive communication approaches.
  8. Secure long-term funding for advocacy groups and projects.

Important things for care managers and care coordinators to do

  1. Support people and their families to do 'self-assessments’ to start the process of planning support (preferably using person-centred formats).
  2. Encourage take-up of direct payments and independent living funding (ILF), including among young people aged 16+.
  3. Support people with learning disabilities to talk about their life goals at any and every review, and help everyone else focus on how to help them achieve those things.
  4. Read Simon Duffy’s 'Keys to Citizenship 2’ (see Links and resources).
  5. Try to specify what a person wants to do and achieve when referring them to a community day service - give the service clear guidance and then monitor against that specification.

Important things for staff supporting people in community-based activities to do

  1. Facilitate and support rather than 'doing for’.
  2. Fade into the background when people are in conversation with members of the public.
  3. Plan with people using person-centred approaches.
  4. Encourage people to join advocacy groups, and sort out support so that they can get there.
  5. Help people to get communication aids, create communication passports and do whatever you can to make it easier for people to communicate with members of the public.
  6. Help people to think about businesses that might suit their talents and interests; help them to set up a micro-enterprise (see Key task 7: Supporting people into paid work).
  7. Go to presentations given by people with learning disabilities, listen and reflect on what you need to do to support people better, and then do it.

Practice examples

Listening To Us was set up as a social firm in Essex in 1998, employing a team of people with a learning disability to undertake consultations, develop and deliver training, plan and run events, and speak at conferences. The team broadened out to work with training cooperatives, supporting users to take more control and leadership. Listening to Us specialises in promoting inclusion and participation through person-centred approaches. Since 2004, the team has been employed directly by Mencap and now has a national rather than regional role. Team members continue to have an active role in the success of the business. They are involved in making decisions and running the organisation, and continue to carry out work for a range of organisations.

Links and resources