We encourage everyone we support, whatever their challenges, to learn, develop and push their boundaries, and to live life more independently as a result. For some this means mastering a new skill or having the confidence to make more of the key decisions that affect their daily lives, for others it could mean completing a college course or finding a part-time job. In every case, we offer the support and encouragement to help individuals progress at their own pace
Educational and vocational support
Support to engage in activities and meaningful occupation is a large part of the overall care package we provide. We support people with mental health conditions seeking opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community, and those with a learning disability looking to continue their personal development and ongoing education.
Each of our residential homes has its own Activities Coordinator who develops detailed personal education plans for those we support. Activities range from help with basic literacy and numeracy to computing, money management and general life skills to improve employability. We've introduced a range of specialist aids and assistive technologies to help people learn and organise trips and experiences that help build self-assurance in the community.
In addition, our in house Positive Behavioural Support Team runs specific classes and provides individually-tailored support programmes to help people develop their independence. As trained psychologists they run cognitive behavioural therapy sessions to help people cope better with possible triggers and reduce anxieties. We also give those we support the opportunity to participate in staff training courses, such as safeguarding and fire safety.
Many of our homes and services work closely with local education facilities. Around a quarter of those we support attend school or college courses. In some cases external educational teams come into our homes to offer specialist support.
"I've been working at the garden centre for six years now. I keep the place tidy for customers. I like doing the weeding and learning about plants and what they need. I like gardening and I love meeting and talking to new people, so it's a really good job for me."
Support into work
Around 10% of the people we support are currently engaged in some form of paid or voluntary work. Employment isn't right for everyone, but for many, having a job is about a lot more than just earning money. Work builds confidence and self-esteem, provides an opportunity to meet and mix with other people, and a chance to develop new skills.
Based on individual choice and capability, we assist many of those we support in pursuing suitable job placements and work experience opportunities. We match ability with role, taking into account the needs of the individual and the employer. Where appropriate, we help people write a CV and practice for interviews. Once they're in work, we stay closely involved to make sure the new employee is enjoying the job and has all the training and support they need to thrive. We also keep in touch with the employer to offer advice.
Many of these roles are in the voluntary sector, with specific examples being working with Mind and the British Heart Foundation. Others take part in local and community projects, while some enjoy part-time paid jobs in local businesses like garden centres or supermarkets.
In some instances, opportunities suitable for those we support are available within the company and we actively seek individuals to fill those roles. Our team of Expert Quality Auditors, all living in Choice Care services, conduct internal audits of our homes, reporting to the Quality Team and senior management, to provide real insight into how those in our care prefer to live. Some of the people we support are also involved in staff training programmes helping to build understanding of the details or their condition and needs. One person currently teaches our staff Makaton. Other internal job opportunities include office based roles and working with the repairs and maintenance team.