This Learning Disability Week we are celebrating some of the amazing social enterprises we have invested in, support, and work with, who support people with learning disability, autism or poor mental health.
1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability, which learning disability charity Mencap defines as ‘a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example, household tasks, socialising or managing money – and which affects someone for their whole life’. People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, interact with other people and understand complicated information which also means that they often live in supported housing, sometimes with family or sadly for some, in long-term institutions such as care homes and hospitals.
Autism is an invisible disability affecting around 1 person in every 100 in the UK. It is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. Some of the issues autistic people experience can have an impact on how they live and manage their daily lives, with many needing support to help them manage. This means that people with autism will often require housing to suit their very individual needs.
Mental Health Problems
One in four adults in the UK experience mental health problems every year but with less than 25% of people with a diagnosed mental illness actually receive treatment for it, a staggering number of people with mental health problems are left unable to access the support they need potentially triggering events that can lead them to a risk of homelessness.
Mental health charity MIND reports that 79% of people with mental health problems said that housing issues had negatively impacted their mental health and 42% had experienced homelessness in the past.
Social Enterprises Supporting People With Learning Disability
Thankfully there are thousands of social enterprises and charities across the UK who are helping to plug this gap by providing additional mental health support to those in need.
In the South West and West Midlands, Resonance is proud to support a number of social enterprises providing employment, learning, training and wellbeing opportunities for people with learning disability and mental health problems:
The South West
Mustard Seed Property is a Cornish community benefit society and charity - capital for this venture was raised by the issue of community shares, which local people invested in and became members of. MSP purchases homes for people with learning disability or at risk of homelessness. It then leases these properties to organisations in Cornwall who are skilled in helping vulnerable tenants to be housed and supported into stable and independent lifestyles. To date 20 in individuals have been supported. Due to both its success in raising investment through community shares previously – and the need for more housing in Cornwall for people with learning disability – a further share offer to purchase more housing will be launched this June. You can find out more about this share offer and MSP here.
SoFab Sports is a Gloucestershire based sportswear social enterprise providing employment and training opportunities for the young people with learning disabilities it employs in retail services via its online sports shop and warehouse in Gloucester. So far over twenty first time jobs have been taken up by individuals with physical or learning disabilities.
Hollywell Housing operating in Devon and Cornwall is a person-focused, bespoke housing and tenancy management service for people with learning disability and autism who might not otherwise be able to access a sustainable home, learn life skills or manage a tenancy alone.
Sense Abilities in Torbay, Devon make sensory play accessible to children and adults with physical and/or learning disability and autism. They do this through their sensory equipment and classes and through their work with like-minded local organisations in and around Torbay.
Karrek Community CIC based in St Austell, Cornwall is a care agency providing a high-quality care service for adults with learning disability. It has also established hubs within communities from which services are run ensuring services remain local.
The West Midlands
Jericho Foundation in Birmingham helps people with barriers to social inclusion and employment, including people experiencing mental health issues, to gain skills working in their range of social enterprises. They provide in-house supported-employment, volunteering and training opportunities for so that individuals feel safe to work and supported to succeed.
Wildgoose Rural Training in Worcester offers access to outdoors, land-based activities - the therapeutic experience of working with plants and animals - providing training, education and work experience for people with learning disabilities, brain injuries, mental health issues and school-excluded children, boosting independence and confidence and better physical and mental well-being.
Challenge Academy in the West Midlands contributes to positive mental wellbeing in particularly deprived areas of the region through their range of educational outdoor programmes for vulnerable groups such as young offenders or people who have been excluded from mainstream education.
With the right support people with learning disability can enjoy independent living within their local community and happy and fulfilled lives.
However, we also know that thousands of people in the UK with learning disability are unable to live as they would like as they remain ‘stuck’ living in unsuitable accommodation - including long-stay hospital beds or residential care - due to the lack of suitable housing options available which do support independent living.
The Resonance Supported Homes Fund
Resonance has been working closely with a group of charities in the learning disability and housing sector to design a sector-wide solution to this lack of suitable housing for people with learning disability.
The Resonance Supported Homes Fund is a residential property fund that will buy, refurbish and adapt residential properties across the UK and, by working in partnership with charity partners, move individuals with learning disability, autism and/or mental health problems out of unsuitable accommodation and into homes which allow them to lead the life they choose.
Find out more about the Resonance Supported Homes Fund:
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