£1.5m grant to help people live independently

PUBLISHED: 12:30 04 January 2017

Archant

Close to £1.5million of Government funding will be used to support people with learning disabilities to live independently across Somerset.

Somerset County Council has this week secured a £1.2million grant from the Department of Health, while North Somerset Council is set to receive £213,000 from the same funding pot.

Currently just 15 per cent of adults with learning disabilities in England have their own home or a secure, long-term tenancy.

But the Government hopes shared ownership schemes, property adaptations and new technology can help to solve this issue and give people independence, while helping them to feel more included within their community.

Somerset County Council will use its grant to help people pay for deposits and fees to buy homes jointly with Knightstone Housing Association as well as providing assistive technology.

The new technology will help the council ensure homes are adapted to make life as easy as possible for people with additional needs.

For example, some people may benefit from locks with fingerprint recognition, so they do not lose their keys, or baths with sensors so bathrooms are not accidentally flooded.

The county council’s cabinet member for adult services, William Wallace, said: “There is a shortage of suitable housing and the finances involved put it out of reach of many.

“Our whole ethos is about helping people with learning disabilities to live full, independent lives as possible and this will make that a reality for the people it supports.”

Similarly, in North Somerset, much of the new funding has been earmarked for assistive technology and specialist work to adapt people’s homes.

A total of £60,000 will be spent on conversions to carers’ properties and £50,000 is set to be spent on technology to help best identify what equipment will benefit people in supported living environments.

The remaining £103,000 will be split between two projects which aim to provide assistive technology to people with learning difficulties or other complex needs.

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