Basingstoke Community Link officially opened
Thursday, 28 February 2013
Being able to do the same things as everyone else - that's the aim of Hampshire County Council's transformation of day services for people with learning disabilities, which is marked on Friday 8 March with the official opening of the new Basingstoke Community Link by Cllr Felicity Hindson, Executive Member for Adult Social Care.
The contemporary designed facility provides a drop off point in the Discovery Centre, at the heart of Festival Place, for families to link with support staff from Basingstoke Day Services. Staff will then help people to get to their chosen activities by public or community based transport. Activities will be led by community based organisations, which include dance classes and gymnastics supported by Active Lives.
Facilities available at Community Link include access to a kitchen / server area, sensory and presentation area, a meeting room and access to IT for staff. The Community Link and Discovery Centre also provide changing facilities to enable people with complex needs to access the local community without being confined to the facilities of a traditional day service.
Once established, the Community Link in Basingstoke will provide a model for future community integration for adults with learning disabilities in line with the Government's Valuing People Now.
The new improved service follows consultation with users of County Council-run learning disability services, their families and carers, which sought views on how services should be provided in the future both for daytime services and also residential services and respite opportunities.
The changes include enhancing day services options to around 17 bases across the county, providing specialist day services for those with complex needs, and offering a wider choice of day opportunities for less disabled people. The focus is on bringing services closer to local communities to enable people to take part in a wider range of activities' something the consultation highlighted as important.
Modernising learning disability services will improve choice and provide better value for money for tax payers. Demographic trends show that demand for services is changing due to the increased needs of people using these services. The changes will increase choice for the most able people and ensure the Council continues to meet the needs of people with complex disabilities.
Councillor Hindson said: "We listened to what people with learning disabilities told us - that they want to live ordinary lives, have jobs and live in their own homes - this will mean continuing to provide services, but in new and different ways.
"The new Community Link is in a very central location which will help people with learning disabilities and their families feel a part of the local community and at the heart of what's happening in Basingstoke.
"We are modernising our learning disability services so that people have a greater choice and the flexibility to select from a range of services that meet their individual needs. Our aim is to lead the way by using our existing resources as effectively as possible."