The County Council is planning to change the way it offers Day Opportunities and is calling for people who need adult social care support, their families and carers to have their say on its proposed new Strategy.
Day services are currently offered to 1500 people, mainly in day service buildings. These include older people, people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, dementia, autism and mental health needs.
The pandemic has resulted in some different approaches being offered, including the use of digital technology, small scale local community responses and more personalised support such as use of Personal Assistants or Shared Lives carers. These have been welcomed by some people who have benefitted from the new-found flexibility, friendships and support.
A draft Day Opportunities Strategy has been developed following a period of engagement with people who currently use the services, their families and carers, where people told us that they wanted to do more things in the community, meet friends and do things in the evenings and at weekends.
The strategy sets out a vision where mainstream leisure and employment support is accessible to people, either by giving them the skills and confidence to use services independently, or by being supported by a Personal Assistant or Shared Lives carer. Shared Lives is similar to foster care but for adults and paid carers support people to live as independently as possible in the community.
The strategy proposes four levels of support, but the ambition will always be to focus on a person’s individual strengths and helping them to be as independent as possible.
Those people requiring more specialist or higher levels of support may continue to need building-based services in order to meet their needs most effectively but the aspiration will remain that everyone should be able to access their communities if they choose to.
Councillor Boyd Elliott, Chairman of Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “People have told us they want to access more services in places like cafes and pubs. Carers have also said it’s important to them that services are available outside of traditional 9 – 5 weekly hours. Our draft strategy sets out how we plan to offer more opportunities for people in the community and support people to be as independent as possible.
“We recognise that some people with higher levels of need will still require the specialist support offered by our day services, but we also want to offer more diverse opportunities for people to learn new skills and hobbies in their local communities. I encourage anyone who uses our services, or may use them in the future, to give their views as part of our consultation process.”
People can find out more and give their views on the draft Day Opportunities Strategy.