New Opportunities For People With Learning Disabilities
Article created on 9th November 2012
People with learning disabilities in Worcestershire could get the chance to access a broader range of community-based activities, including attending work experience placements, following a decision by the County Councils Cabinet yesterday (Thursday, November 8).
At a meeting in County Hall Cabinet approved plans to reshape the learning disabilities day opportunities service which will see those who are more able be given the chance to access a wider range of activities during the day. Although more traditional day centres will still exist, these will generally be reserved for those service users who have the most complex needs for whom accessing activities out in the community wouldnt be appropriate. Those with less complex needs will be offered the chance to gain work experience, or to get involved in a wider range of activities run by other groups or providers across the county.
The review of learning disability day opportunities was launched with a pilot project run in Wychavon earlier this year. The comments of service users and families/carers have contributed to the Cabinet report. It was set up to see whether service users would benefit from accessing more non-traditional, community-based services which open up much more choice for them. For example some could attend work placements which could in time boost their employment chances. Although they provide a good level of service and are well valued by many service users and families, traditional building-based day centres are restricted in the sort of activities they can offer and the council felt there could be real benefits to widening out the opportunities people with learning disabilities have to learn new skills, play a fuller role in community life and meet new people.
The details of the review are available in the Cabinet report which is online, but in summary the new structure will see a Day Centre Hub operate in each district. This will be used to provide activities to those with more complex learning disabilities, but it will also be where providers of any new, alternative community based services will collect and then drop-off service users at the end of the day.
Cllr Philip Gretton, Worcestershire County Councils Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: "We believe this is a really forward thinking move and just because you have a learning disability doesnt mean you shouldnt have opportunities to access the same activities as everyone else. Despite this we recognise that some concerns were raised over the last few months and I can reassure people that we wont now simply plough on with implementing these proposals on our own but will instead work with service users and the families/carers to ensure any concerns are dealt with and where necessary further reassurance is provided."