Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Improving the lives of people with a learning disability or autism

​​Cllr Andrew Leadbetter says the scheme to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism is a significant milestone.
A groundbreaking initiative to improve the lives of people with a learning disability or autism is being launched in Devon.

The scheme is aimed at giving people with a learning disability or autism a temporary stepping-stone home where they can stay after being in hospital.

Three individual flats will be created in a Dawlish building, with each having its own front door and own outside space.

It will give residents a temporary but safe and stable environment where they can stay on a short-term basis after being in hospital, helping them to move closer to their family, friends and community.

Residents will have their own team of staff, who will continue to support them when they move to their own permanent home in the community.

Once residents have moved back into the community, the flats will become home to other people moving out of hospital, acting as a long-term provision for people with a learning disability or autism in Devon. 

In addition, an autism awareness programme will be rolled out to businesses of all sizes, including transport and leisure providers, community facilities, shops, hairdressers and health services.

This will give businesses a better insight into the needs of people who might otherwise struggle to get the best from their community.
The training will be piloted in Dawlish before being taken up in areas across the rest of Devon.

Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “This is very welcome news for Devon, and marks a significant milestone in changing the way we deliver support to some of our most vulnerable people.

“Providing services for people with autism or a learning disability is one of our priorities and, in particular, supporting people to return from inpatient care settings back into their communities.

“The autism awareness scheme will make Devon a more attractive destination for people with autism and a learning disability to visit. It will help to change people’s lives for the better.”

Dr Guy Bradley-Smith, Devon clinical lead for learning disabilities, said: “Too often Devon people with a learning disability or autism have their discharge from hospital delayed because of a lack of accommodation available in the county.

“Clearly this is not good for the person concerned, because a delay in discharging patients can impair physical recovery and increase mental distress – so these new services are a win-win.”

Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s executive portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “If we put the right care from the right staff in the right environment, we can make significant improvements to the quality of life of these individuals.

“The temporary accommodation will welcome friends and family visiting their loved ones, and being close to home will enhance the rehabilitation progress of those living there.

“The flats will initially be for people coming out of hospital, giving them a stepping-stone that helps them go back into their local community.”​