The vital role that friendships and relationships play in making sure people with a learning disability are included in our society is being marked by this year’s Learning Disability Week, which is being backed by Hightown Housing Association.

The charitable organisation makes sure people like David Farino, a resident in its supported living scheme at St Barnabas Court in Hemel Hempstead, has an active social life and is as independent as possible.

For David, aged 55, that means having lots of friends at St Barnabas and the nearby church, as well as having a keen interest in football, cricket and tennis. He is particularly enjoying the current summer of sport.

He said: “I’m very happy living here - it’s close to the shops and I’ve made lots of friends at St Barnabas and the nice people from the church nearby. My girlfriend lives at St Barnabas too.

“The staff are great - I get on with everyone. They help me with shopping, washing, cleaning, taking my medication and drive me places when they can.”

St Barnabas Court provides eight supported living homes for people with learning disabilities. Each resident has their own self-contained purpose built flat with 24 hour support on site. The aim is to provide personalised support to people living in their own homes to help them meet their full potential.

Hightown has 31 Learning Disability care and supported housing schemes – nine care homes (two in Hertfordshire and seven in Buckinghamshire) and 22 long term supported living schemes (13 in Buckinghamshire and 9 in Hertfordshire).

Learning Disability Week, which runs from 20th-26th June, is a campaign by Mencap to raise awareness of learning disability across the UK. You can find out more at www.mencap.org.uk.

To find out more about Hightown’s support for people with learning disabilities, visit http://hightownha.org.uk/care-and-support/learning-disabilities/