Future of learning disability day and work services looking rosy
Flintshire County Council, Hft and service users
Flintshire County Council’s Learning Disability Day Opportunities service provides meaningful daytime activities, in day centre and work environments, for more than 250 people with learning disabilities.
The Council’s partner in delivering this service is Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities. Hft shares the Council’s clear vision for transformation of these important and valued services and has a proven track record of service delivery. The charity has been injecting new skills, expertise and experience into the service and driving a positive culture change. In addition, new fund raising initiatives and cost efficiency opportunities are being opened up.
Cllr Christine Jones and Leader of the Council Cllr Aaron Shotton talk to service users Michael Hodson and John Freeman along with HFT's Maria Williams
On a recent visit to the service, Flintshire County Council Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Christine Jones, said:
“This service model is working extremely well and was developed in collaboration with service users, family members, staff, trade unions and independent advocacy services – everyone’s opinion was taken into consideration. The service currently includes the Day Centre operating out of our Glanrafon facility in Queensferry, but will move to a state-of-the-art £4m facility “Hwb Cyfle” which is currently under construction and due to open this summer. The building of this new facility reaffirms the Council’s commitment to quality services, investing money in critical services, despite the current financial difficulties being faced by all local authorities.”
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said:
“It was great to visit and to see first-hand the fantastic new service model that has been introduced at Glanrafon day centre, enabling an activity driven approach that has greatly improved social interaction for people supported at the centre.
"As we expected, Flintshire is benefitting from the wider organisational expertise from Hft and I am particularly pleased that the Council's budget for next year enables us to continue our commitment to providing learning disability day care and the current £4M new centre, under development, signifies the Councils unique commitment setting the Council apart from many other Councils across the UK.”
Flintshire County Council, Hft and service users close to the construction site where the new centre Hwb Cyfle is being built
The new model also supports a focus on finding volunteer or paid roles for people supported. Hft is also reviewing all existing work placements supported by the Job Coach team. Successes so far include:
- Eleven people are now in paid employment with a further five placements being looked into.
- A volunteer receptionist has been appointed at Glanrafon, which could become a paid role in the future.
- Two people previously supported in the work opportunities’ cafes are now in volunteer roles in the Deeside Hospital café.
- A new partnership with North East Wales Carer’s Information Service (NEWCIS) to provide support to process and re-sell donations for Charity Shops.
- Planning for the inception of a new supported employment programme, ‘Project Search’, in partnership with Pennaf Housing Group and Coleg Cambria.
Andrew Horner, Hft’s Divisional Director for the North said:
“At Hft we are committed to supporting people with learning disabilities to live the best life possible. This exciting partnership with Flintshire County Council has given us the opportunity to combine our expertise to enhance the quality of support provided and deliver opportunities for people to be involved in meaningful and engaging experiences. Together we have worked hard to make this service successful and we are pleased to be able to share the achievements made so far, as we mark the end of a fruitful first year of the partnership. We are delighted that Flintshire County Council is committed to supporting us in the delivery of positive outcomes for the people we support and the construction of the new state of the art “Hwb Cyfle” facility will help allow us to continue to build a service that supports people to live with more choice and independence.”