ReachDisability consultancy Paradigm has launched Reach: Support for living an ordinary life, which aims to ensure that people stay committed to supporting people with learning disabilities in a way that enables them to live a life of their choosing.

The standards are successors to the Reach Standards in Supported Living, which were launched in 2002 and set 11 standards for supported living.

Launched at the Learning Disability Today conference at Kensington Olympia on November 28, Reach: Support for living an ordinary life, reflects the developments made within the sector in that time.

Rather than being an assessment tool, Reach is a resource and set of standards that encourages people to explore what support for living an ordinary life looks like. If changes are needed in a person’s life Reach is designed to help professionals agree the desired alterations with the service user, plan and take action together.

Reach defines what support for living is and helps to ensure people receive, or are moving towards, support for living their ordinary life. It also looks to clarify the standards of support for living to ensure that ‘supported living’ doesn’t become a model that people can simply tick as ‘achieved’.

Sally Warren, managing director of Paradigm, emphasised that the new standards are not about ticking boxes, but engaging in a conversation with service users and finding out what they want. “It’s about self-determination,” she said. “We want to see people’s lives changing because of what they’ve said.”

As Warren told Learning Disability Today in a feature in the November/December edition: “Lots (of providers] tell us now they ‘do’ supported living, and that residential homes are gone and people are living full lives.  But when we go and visit people at home we have found that lots of people are living in de-registered services, claiming to be supported living but their quality of life hasn’t significantly improved.

“While we know there are real challenges in terms of finances, we have to stay committed to the true principles of what we call support for living, which is the right to choose who you live with and who supports you.”