Mariner servicesCouncillors in Hartlepool say there new £4.5m Mariner Care service can "lead a revolution in learning disability care" by enabling people with complex needs to live semi-independently in the community.

The state-of-the-art residential support service - described as "world class" by Hartlepool District Council's chief executive Dave Stubbs - has been created to meet a national requirement for people with learning disabilities and autism to move from inappropriate and unsuitable environments and out of homes not considered fit for purpose.

Moving into one of the Mariner homes, in the residential Burbank area of Hartlepool, will allow service users to access specialist community-based services through four specially designated bungalows designed for up to 12 vulnerable adults.

Learning disabilities expert Professor Barry Carpenter OBE, a healthcare adviser to Mariner Care, said: “Mariner Care has created a service which dignifies the lived experience of the person with learning disabilities.

“It is state-of-the-art provision that will enhance and enrich the quality of life of those service users who live there.”

Serious shortcomings
The Mariner Care homes are seen as an answer to concerns outlined last month in an NHS England report by Sir Stephen Bubb which criticised the ‘serious shortcomings’ of hospital-based care for people with learning disabilities and autism, stating that people were being kept in institutions far from home for too long.

People living in the purpose-built bungalows will receive therapeutic care and round-the-clock person-centred support from staff who have all been specially trained for the job. The group has recruited a team of support workers who havereceived a month of intensive bespoke training, and will work within guidelines of the Institute of Applied Behaviour Analysis (IABA) and PROACT-SCIPr-UK.

Mariner chief executive Chris Pooley emphasised that the service aims to set a national standard for non-hospital innovative community-based services for people with learning disabilities and autism.

“Mariner Care is both part of a revolutionary change desperately required in learning disability and autism care and an answer to deep national concerns about the treatment of vulnerable people in England.

“We will be doing much more than following national standards, we will be setting them,” he added.

The service is set to welcome its first residents, from the Hartlepool area, in the New Year. Initially 12 residents will move into the bungalows with accommodation for a further 12 residents to be built in 2015.