The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (FPLD) has launched a new service, Connecting People, which aims to bring together services in the sector in order to improve quality of life for people with learning disabilities and their families.

After research by the FPLD showed people with high support needs rarely get the right help, Connecting People was set up to enable third sector organisations across 6 sites in the UK to develop connecting services from scratch.

Molly Mattingly, head of learning disability programmes at the FPLD, said: “The project has shown that people using the ‘community connecting’ services see an improved quality of life and increased options. Support staff learn new ways of working with the community, and there can even be savings as ‘natural supports’ diminish the need for specialised services.

“It is remarkable how training in community connecting, a simple yet effective skill, can prove such a worthy investment for families, particularly as the focus is on building relationships based on reciprocity. This reveals what people with high support needs have to offer to their communities and what they can be offered in return.”

The service offers 3 key products: a diagnostic tool, business template and evaluation, which are designed to facilitate training in connecting for existing or potential service providers, commissioners and care managers.

It can be funded from a number of sources, including individual budgets, with support packages delivered by industry experts, tailored to suit individual requirements including:

 

  • Advice, mentoring and training to set up a service
  • Business advice to make sure that your service is sustainable
  • Support to use an individual budget or direct payment to set up a connecting service
  • Training for commissioners and care managers in nurturing local connecting services.
  • Benefits could be widespread, as connecting services can find solutions for people with the most complex needs help establish strong, mutually beneficial relationships, increase the options available to them and help improve their safety, according to the FPLD.

 

For more information visit the Connecting People professional development workshop on October 18 at the Mental Health Foundation, 1 Colechurch House, London Bridge Walk.