13/09/2021 - Permalink

Innovative plans to support people with learning disabilities move forward

Related topics: Adult social care / Climate change / environment / Community / Housing / Planning

A new and innovative development that will help support independent living for people with learning disabilities is starting to take shape.

The Greenacres development plan will extend the Greenacres Farm offer by creating eight new single-storey supported living units on the site, along with a communal shared area, internal courtyard, and access to existing outdoor spaces including a sensory garden, and a fitness area with outdoor gym equipment.

Greenacres have ambitious plans to expand their offer to help those with learning disabilities lead fulfilling lives

The state-of-the-art accommodation will be the first of its kind for Shropshire and will be offered to people with a learning disability and/or autism.

Artist's impression of the supported living accommodation at Greenacres

Artist’s impression of the supported living accommodation at Greenacres

Supported living enables adults with physical or learning disabilities or mental health needs to live in their own flat or home with the appropriate level of support.

There are currently over 100 supported living properties located across the county, both rural and urban and with over 190 individuals living across these schemes as tenants.

Councillor Dean Carroll Cabinet Member for adult social Care, public health and housing said:

“Shropshire Council is absolutely committed to support people with learning and autism and/or mental health needs to live as independently as possible within their own home or in another supported environment.

“We know that giving more the opportunity to move into “supported living” will help significantly improve their quality of life.

“While we have many supported living arrangements across Shropshire, this specialist provision, is not yet available in Shropshire and has resulted in, and continues to result in, individuals, particularly our young people, leaving Shropshire to live in residential settings or single occupancy homes outside of the county many miles away from family and friends. 

“Also, we recognise the gap in opportunities for younger adults with a learning disability, particularly those turning 18 and transitioning from children’s to adult services, individuals that have been in residential colleges and are coming to the end of their placements or other residential setting. As a local authority, we want to prevent this from happening and invest in our existing assets, to develop them further and expand on the offer for younger adults.

“Our Greenacres Development Project is a fantastic opportunity for us to build an innovative, sustainable living accommodation that is future proofed and can be sustained and adapted easily for young people in Shropshire.

“The project will provide a great opportunity for individuals to live more independently and will reduce the number of placements in residential care outside of Shropshire, allowing people to be much nearer their family and friends.”

Plans also include the development of an existing empty house on the Greenacres site into a more functional useable space. This could include using the property as a place for education and training and lifestyle activities such as cooking to support those in the living accommodation, as well as offering respite placements to those still living with families or informal carers.

Tanya Miles Shropshire Council’s Executive Director, adult social care, housing and public health added:

“We have been very keen to further develop Greenacres, who’s service greatly helps and supports adults with learning disabilities, to recognise and reach their full potential. 

“Extending the offer at Greenacres will provide a more person-centred, efficient service to individuals with a learning disability, some of which we do not currently provide a service to within the county. It will make a positive impact on the way people live their lives in a way that benefits everyone. The unique approach will enable the tenants to live in good quality homes and lead them on a path of independent living, community integration and volunteer opportunities or employment.

“We have and will continue discussions with those who attend Greenacres, their families and carers and existing and potential service providers to explore these options proposed in the development plan. We have already started initial discussions with potential residents and families as part of the development process and have received positive support and feedback from them.”

The council’s adult social care services along with its housing company Property Services Group (PSG) have been undertaking extensive engagement with the Local Parish Council and local residents, to discuss the development plans and visions.

The Greenacres Development Project planning application has now been published and is open to the local community and the wider public for further comment