We are working in partnership with our colleagues in the social care sector to highlight a number of very important issues that threatens the future of care and support services in the UK.
LD Voices is a coalition of providers of learning disability services. We have joined forces because we are concerned about the future for people with a learning disability and worried that continued spending cuts will negatively impact on our ability to deliver personalised, high quality care.
As budgets are being squeezed, there is a real risk that the most vulnerable people in our society will be let down. Lifeways and all the other members of LD Voices have only one aim; to secure a better future for people who require support to live their lives. Our great fear is that unless there is a change of direction from the government our ability to do this will be badly damaged.
Lifeways vision is to provide bespoke, high quality support that empowers people to have choice and control. Since 1995 we have been working with individuals, families and our local authority partners to deliver support that offers the right amount of support, tailored to each person’s needs and wants. Most importantly we believe that people should be living in and enjoying their local community, being supported to play an active and worthwhile role as equal citizens.
A word from our CEO, Paul Marriner:
We’re dedicated to improving the lives of the people that we support, through the support that we provide daily and by ensuring we have the right infrastructure for the future. This also includes the economic and political environments that Lifeways operate within. It’s our belief that by joining forces with our colleagues in the sector and with the forming of LD Voices, we can make our voice heard and secure a better future for the most vulnerable individuals in society.
Read the LD Voices Care Crisis Manifesto: www.learningdisabilityvoices.co.uk
As many of you will be aware the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the implementation of a National Living Wage taking effect on April 1st.
As a result, a legal minimum pay rate of £7.20 per hour must now be paid to everyone aged 25 or over in employment in the UK. For people aged under 25, the National Minimum Wage legislation still applies; the current National Minimum Wage rate is £6.70 per hour and will increase to £6.95 per hour with effect from October 1st.
We recognise that our staff teams play a crucial role in making a difference to the lives of the people we support. Without their ongoing dedication and commitment we would not be able to continue to deliver amazing outcomes for the each individual.
Although the financial conditions in which Lifeways operates are increasingly challenging, due in particular to the affordability constraints placed upon our Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group customers, we are committed to offering and maintaining the most attractive pay arrangements we can for all Lifeways employees.
With this objective in mind, with effect from April 1st, a minimum basic hourly pay rate of £7.25 per hour is in place for all Lifeways Group employees aged 25 and over. In addition, we have also worked hard to secure a better deal for our employees aged under 25. This results is a pay increase to £7.00 per hour as a minimum basic hourly rate. Our ambition, through the establishment of Group wide minimum pay rates that are above the new legal requirements, is to position Lifeways competitively in all locations in which we operate.
In this way, we are striving continuously to reinforce engagement with our existing staff, as well as strengthen and sustain our appeal to future recruits, with the ultimate objective of delivering the best possible care we can, to the people that depend upon us.
Being diagnosed with a mental health problem can be distressing and can impact all areas of a person’s life. It is important to recognise that every person is different and recovery can mean different things to different people. For many people, recovery from poor mental health is about being in control of their lives. The road to recovery is a personal one and should incorporate many different goals and objectives.
Richard Cunningham, Director of Supported Independent Living, which is part of The Lifeways Group says: “The objectives of a recovery-oriented mental health service is to make sure people are able to live successfully in their community. This is through managing their own mental health needs and having less reliance on paid support.”
Recovery can be a journey of personal growth and self-discovery, it is important that service providers such as The Lifeways Group recognise the importance of a positive self-identity to recovery. Recovery should encourage people to move forward, set new goals and recognise their dreams, wishes and aspirations.
Louise, who lives in a Lifeways supported apartment tells us: “I’ve lived in my own apartment for four years; I have learnt coping strategies to help me with my impulsive behaviour and behavioural problems. My support team have helped me gain experience and confidence by getting me involved in different activities, including helping Wirral Social Services run focus groups and sitting on interview panels. My main goal is to live independently, but until then I will continue to be supported and live a better life.”
Richard continues: “It is our belief that services should be ‘Places of Change’ not stagnation, where the focus from the first day of entry into a service is on the eventual exit from that service.”
As part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that the views and ideas of the people we support across The Lifeways Group are heard and responded to, service users and staff joined forces at a recent quality focus Group meeting in Birmingham to exchange thoughts and opinions about a number of topics such as Hate Crime and Service User Involvement in Recruitment.
Sally Raynor, Quality Manager who facilitated the day said; “the day was a roaring success with some lively discussion around recruitment and Hate Crime. We had a visit from a local Police Community Support Officer who was able to facilitate discussion and answer any questions with regard to hate crime, and we also gained some great ideas for our new recruitment toolkit, which we’re designing to facilitate the involvement of service users in recruitment.”
Michael Quality Focus Group Member, explains about Hate Crime: “Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t understand autism or other forms of learning disability which can lead to the public calling the Police for the wrong reasons. It’s important to learn about hate crime as people with disabilities may have been too afraid or they may have been the victim of a hate crime. Some people with a disability also find it hard to stand up for themselves therefore they need to be able to talk to a responsible adult.”