Ridgeway HouseA CMG service for people living with learning disabilities is the first of its kind in England to have been rated 'Outstanding' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Ridgeway in Havering, East London, was recognised by the CQC for its work in putting its four tenants at the heart of everything they do and empowering them to live independent lives.

To date, it is the only time a supported living service has received the highest commendation since the regulator changed its system of inspection last year.

Sheila Morgan, manager at The Ridgeway, said: “Ever since we started four and a half years ago we were absolutely clear about our ethos. We have always wanted our tenants to live independent lives, have choice and control over what they do, understand their rights and be given support to access work, education and social activities.

"We are extremely proud of what we have achieved and that the CQC has recognised our hard work. There can be challenges at times, but the people we support love living here and we love working with them."

The success of The Ridgeway since CMG converted it from a residential property 4 years ago has been built on their record of placing residents in voluntary and paid work.

Campaigns and inspirational awards
After her and her friends, some of whom use wheelchairs, were often unable to get on buses, Ridgeway resident, Sophie Cowderoy, launched a campaign to improve disabled access on public transport. Her efforts took her to the Mayor of London’s Question Time, where she raised the issue with Boris Johnson. Sophie’s work has been recognised by CMG and she now visits other services in the country to help other people with learning disabilities campaign about causes close to their hearts.

Another tenant, Carl Johnson, was named as the Most Inspirational Individual at CMG’s Service User Awards in 2013. Carl lives with cerebral palsy, which means he does not walk, sit unaided or talk. This has not stopped him volunteering at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club and getting paid employment alongside delivering presentations to other people supported by CMG on how they can make the most out of opportunities in the communities they live in.

Peter Kinsey, chief executive of CMG, added: “The outstanding rating is a testament to the staff at the Ridgeway and the wonderful, positive atmosphere they have created there.

“All of the tenants there have achieved so much in the wider communities, particularly with their work. This success is built upon the happy home life they are able to live at The Ridgeway."