LEADING IN HOUSING, SUPPORT AND RIGHTS FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES



Department of Health launches £25 million housing and technology fund for people with learning disabilities




People with learning disabilities are set to benefit from £25 million of funding to help them live independently, the government announced today (Thursday 15 September).

This builds on £20 million already earmarked by NHS England as part of its Transforming Care programme, which will be used for schemes across the country in 2016/17, including new housing and services.

The Department of Health today opens bidding for the £25 million fund, which is aimed at creating a range of housing and technology options for people with learning disabilities. This could include floor sensors to monitor for falls or finger-print technology to make access as easy as possible for residents.

Only 15% of adults with learning disabilities have a secure long-term tenancy or their own home.  The fund will enable more people to live as independently as possible with the best care and support, greatly improving their quality of life.

 The key aims of the fund are to:


  • Make use of new technologies and other bespoke adaptations to improve and adapt existing accommodation, enabling people to remain living independently;

  • Prevent unnecessary in-patient admissions. The fund will provide solutions for people who require urgent housing and are at risk of entering inappropriate services like hospital or residential care;

  • Encourage a move towards community-based solutions which promote independence and choice over housing; 

  • Deliver efficiencies – providing specially adapted housing means there is less of a requirement for costly hands-on care.

Minister for Community Health and Care David Mowat said:

“The Government is determined to improve the life chances of people with learning disabilities, and to make sure they never feel excluded from society. We want to harness all the benefits of technology to help achieve this.

“I hope this investment of £25 million will inspire many exciting and innovative projects which will make a hugely positive difference to people’s lives.”

Housing can be adapted for people with learning disabilities through features such as external access to bathrooms and kitchens to reduce disruption to tenants during repairs; curved surfaces to prevent injury; and mood lighting to create a calm, non-clinical environment.

  

Alicia Wood, Chief Executive, Learning Disability England said:

“Learning Disability England welcomes this £25 million fund to help create housing solutions for people with learning disabilities. We know that a lack of housing choices for people with learning disabilities is only partly down to the need for capital, and what stops people and their families getting the solutions they want is a lack of creative thinking."

“We are particularly pleased that the fund is being used to promote person-centred solutions and create new models of housing and support that give people with learning disabilities a real stake in their communities.”

 

 -Notes to editors -          


Local authorities or consortia of authorities working with local community partners such as voluntary organisations will be able to bid for between £10k and £3m. -         

 
An expert steering group will consult criteria specified in the application in order to allocate funds to the successful bidders. -         

£25 million will be made available to successful bidders over the next two financial years. -         

Applications may be submitted from 15 September up to 28 October 2016. -         

The £25 million fund will complement the Transforming Care programme, which aims to move people out of in-patient care and into the community. -         

Possible uses for the funding include extension and adaptation of existing property, refurbishment, home ownership models, assistive technology and creating better supported housing.

Please click to apply for funds


Case studies

 

Wendy Burt, family carer and member of Learning Disability England said:

 “As a parent of two young adult sons with learning disabilities I am pleased to see the creation of this fund to help create housing solutions and I look forward to seeing some innovative thinking from councils and housing providers. 

“My oldest son is ready to leave home but as a family we are finding it incredibly challenging to help him find a suitable place to live. Any investment in resources to make this happen for my sons and others like them to enable them to live in their local community and become valued citizens is welcomed.”

 

Holly Lodge accommodation complex

Holly Lodge, an accommodation complex designed in 2013 to house and support five adults with learning disabilities is a great example of what the fund could be used to achieve.

 

Richard Webb, Executive Director of Housing and Development for MCCH said:

“Holly Lodge provides self-contained accommodation for people with learning disabilities who present with challenging behaviours. The environment has been specially designed to provide a robust but homely environment, giving people their own space for the very first time. It has helped to reduce behaviours, and outcomes for individuals have significantly improved over the last few years. This award winning service is being used as a blue print by other organisations in the UK and further interest has even been shown as far afield as New Zealand.”

Please click for more information about Holly Lodge
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