Over £100k of annual savings have been made for Buckinghamshire County Council as Hightown helped four young adults with learning disabilities to move from 24/7 supported accommodation to fully independent living this summer.

Stanton House, a modern apartment block in Aylesbury town centre, until early 2018, offered 24-hour care and support to four adults, with a variety of care needs.

Hightown’s service was set up in 2011 with the long-term aim of allowing its residents to gradually transition to independent living, phasing out the need for on-site support workers as part of Hightown’s ‘Independent Living Pathway’ approach. None of the service users had previously lived independently and initially, were provided round-the-clock support. Seven years of dedicated support focused on building the necessary skills, harnessing technology and empowering residents.

The Hightown team helped residents to master important day-to-day skills arranging group cooking sessions and helping them to independently manage their own daily schedules.

All four residents are now working, either as volunteers or in paid employment.  All are involved in their community, undertaking activities and classes, and each one has expressed their delight at living in a place of their own. Every member of staff has now transferred to work for other Hightown services across Buckinghamshire.

“I think Stanton House is really good. I love the staff but I don’t need the support any more. It feels great to have my own space and be able to live my own life.”

Jonathan, service user at Stanton House

Technology played a key role in helping residents gain confidence.  As everyone had a mobile phone, alarms and reminders were used to ensure they were taking their medication properly. One resident with epilepsy was given a bed monitor that allowed support workers to monitor the vibration and movement of his bed to determine whether he needed support at nights. A resident who relied on a hearing aid was provided with a system that lights up and vibrates to ensure they are alerted to fire alarms or even the doorbell.

Sebastian Moh, Hightown’s Head of Care and Supported Housing for Buckinghamshire said:

“The pace of change was very much led by our residents as they each felt more empowered to make their own choices and their confidence grew and grew.

Not only did the Independent Living Pathway deliver a significant reduction in cost for the Council, but in converting the on-site office to living space for residents we were also able to increase the number of units on offer to people with learning disabilities.”

Hightown firstly withdrew the sleep-in support worker, then the number of on-site staff hours were slowly reduced and finally, the office provision was replaced with an outreach support service and the space converted into a unit for a new resident.

Recognising the personal benefits to residents brought by the Independent Living Pathway and the much-needed cost savings to the local authority, Hightown is now exploring how this approach could be adopted in other supported housing schemes.