Date Published: 17 June 2021
A number of changes are being made to Rutland County Council’s Day Opportunities Service for adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to make sure this service continues to deliver the best possible outcomes for the people it supports.
These changes are based on national best practice and what service users and their families have told us they want.
The changes being made include:
- The service will shift from a traditional day-centre 9.00am-3.00pm model to one with flexible days and times, including evenings and weekends, and many more activities delivered in the community. This could include meals out, a shopping trip, a nature walk, or a trip to a café. There will be lots of choice based on what individual service users enjoy doing
- There will be a new Community Care Services Hub at Oakham Enterprise Park, which replaces the Brightways Centre and will be used for specific activities, such as cooking in a specially adapted kitchen facility
Prior to Covid-19, the Council’s Day Opportunities centered around a traditional day-centre model based at Brightways on the campus of Catmose College. Covid-19 has highlighted the limitations of the service with many elements no longer fit for purpose or in line with best practice standards, because they only offer limited support at set times during the week. This has led to the service being reviewed and a number of improvements being outlined as part of a new vision that offers a more personalised 24/7 service for adults with SEND and their families.
The changes being made will prioritise flexibility and choice for people with learning disabilities and autism supported by the service. There will be an emphasis on independence, developing skills, health and wellbeing, and preventing social isolation and loneliness.
“Day Opportunities is a key part of the service we offer adults with learning disabilities and autism, so it needs to focus on the best outcomes for the people we support. We’ve listened to feedback, looked at best practice across the country and designed a new 24/7, personalised service. As it stands, our traditional day-centre service hasn’t been fully updated in a decade and is no longer fit-for-purpose. It’s time for a more meaningful, flexible offer, personalised to each individual’s needs and interests. We will continue the seven-day-a-week service to meet individual needs, and we’ll be able to do more activities that haven’t been possible before." "We've been working closely with our team, those we support, and their families and carers to make sure everyone understands what the change will mean for them. Changes are being implemented gradually, in some cases simply continuing the new ways of working already adopted during Covid-19. Since sharing our vision for the new service with staff in August last year, we've been meeting with teams and individuals regularly to listen to their feedback and views on how best to implement the changes. We’ve also put in place flexible arrangements for staff, based on their individual needs. This is a vital transition for the service, one which we’ve been trialling for the last eighteen months and engaging staff about for almost a year. We appreciate that some impact on working patterns is unavoidable. However, our priority must be to provide the best possible service for people with specific needs, and their families.” Cllr Alan Walters, Rutland County Council's Portfolio Holder for Safeguarding – Adults, Public Health, Health Commissioning & Community Safety