16th September 2016

Images: Independent living fund announced for those with learning disabilities.This week, the Department of Health has opened the bidding for a new fund aimed at helping more people with learning disabilities to live independently with the best care and support.

Local authorities from across the UK have been invited to apply for a share of £25 million. The funding will allow for the creation of new housing and technology options for people with learning disabilities.

There are currently over 1.5million people with learning disabilities in the UK, yet only 15% have a secure long-term tenancy or their own home.

The fund will be available for the next two financial years and can be used to extend or adapt existing properties, or install new technology; greatly improving their quality of life.

The new Department of Health fund aims to:

  • Make use of new technologies and other bespoke adaptations to improve and adapt existing accommodation, enabling people to remain living independently. This could include the installation of floor sensors to monitor for falls or finger-print technology to make access as easy as possible for residents;
  • 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; and
  • Deliver efficiencies – providing specially adapted housing means there is less of a requirement for costly hands-on care.

John Rogers, Chief Executive of Skills for Health said: “Being able to live in your own home and be a part of your local community is a right that many take for granted but which has, not always been readily available to people with a learning disability. The fund provides an excellent opportunity for people with learning disabilities to make choices about the way they live and the nature of the support that they receive to do this and will help to reduce the number of hospital and residential care admissions. If more people with learning disabilities are to be enabled to live independently, and feel safe and confident in doing so, we must also reshape the workforce to ensure that it is able to support these changes more effectively and provide the most appropriate services.”

Local authorities or consortia of authorities working with local community partners will be able to submit bids for between £10,000 and £3 million. Applications may be submitted until 28 October 2016, with the funding being allocated by 30 November 2016.

The funding builds on the £20 million already announced by NHS England as part of their Transforming Care programme, which will be used for schemes across the country in 2016/17, including new housing and services for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

More information on the fund can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/help-for-people-with-learning-disabilities-to-live-independently

The funding application pack can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-and-technology-fund-for-people-with-learning-disabilities

As part of our commitment to improving the quality of life for everyone living with a learning disability, we have developed the Learning Disabilities Core Skills Education and Training Framework. The framework sets out the essential skills and knowledge necessary for all staff involved in providing care and support to people with a learning disability The framework has been developed in partnership with Health Education England and Skills for Care, supported by an expert steering group which has included people with learning disabilities and their families and carers. Click here to find out more

To find out more about Skills for Health’s involvement in the Transforming Care Programme, click here.