Traditionally, people with learning disabilities have either lived in residential care homes, long-term hospital care, or with their families. Living in the family home may well be a positive choice but sometimes it is not a long-term answer.
In recent times, more and more care alternatives have emerged, promoting a more independent style of living.
An important Government White Paper called ‘Valuing People’ proposed major changes to the way in which care and support should be provided for people with a learning disability.
Specifically, the paper encouraged Social Services departments across the UK to offer broader choices to people about where and how they live. The guiding principle is that the learning disabled person should always be at the centre of any plans.
This new philosophy moves away from traditional residential care services, where individualised support is much more difficult to achieve. People are now encouraged to be supported in their own homes.
At Saffron we have been developing a track record of promoting independent living and now have a portfolio of various housing options for people with learning disabilities. Tenancies and home ownership are no longer restricted to those people capable of fully understanding legal agreements. Since the recent introduction of the Mental Capacity Act, as long as it is in the person’s ‘best interests’ to live independently, we can help to make it happen. Saffron has worked closely with Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and Essex Country Council to broker a range of housing options for people with learning difficulties. These include:
Following on from the Government initiative to close NHS provision for people with learning difficulties, Saffron Housing Trust has worked together with the relevant county councils to purchase and develop small shared housing units in local communities for two, three or four tenants to share a property. Each tenant maintains their own tenancy with the help of 24 hour support. Tenants are supported and encouraged to live as independently as possible.