Where to find a great life?: Hi, we are a family of... - Mencap


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Where to find a great life?

Ushie profile image

Hi, we are a family of 4. Our two teenage children both have learning disabilities and the oldest is just about to turn 18. We are not convinced about the opportunities in our local area for adults - particularly meaningful daytime activities.

As we are not tied to the area where we live, we are wondering whether to relocate as a family in the next couple of years, in order to give them the best possible lives in adulthood. But it is really different to research opportunities over the internet.

We just wondered whether anyone would like to recommend their local area for facilities and a great 'community feel' for adults with learning disabilities? Or any really negative experiences?

Both our children have moderate learning disabilities; they are active, like and need variety and have fairly short attention spans. We are planning for them to live at home, in early adulthood at least.

We are looking more in the south of England (ie East Anglia, Home Counties, South or possibly South West) where we have more familiarity, and where it would be practicable for us to check out the area before making the leap.

Thanks in advance!

13 Replies

hi Ushie i know you said south/south west, but i strongly recommend having a look into cheshire and manchester as they both are amazing places for LD,i am a classic autistic, mildly learning disabled,epileptic, physically disabled activist but ive always been around all levels of learning disability,my mums brother/my uncle has PMLD,and im an LD activist in the community. :)

there so many organisations, mencap gateway clubs, supported art studios, great day centres, an amazing sensory room/adult soft play for LD/autism called space-a couple of others inc boomerangs, redbank house, and jump space.....wide apceptance across communities including LGBTQ-which has a mencap (well, known in manchester as better things as they decided to splinter off for some reason) group in manchesters gay village (which is accomodating to anyone and everyone with LD,i can recomend the trafford borough especially because their CLDT is a lot more supportive and less overloaded than manchester boroughs CLDT w-lots of residential and supported living services plus respite to...

...lots of carer and parent support groups, a number of outreach support services, toy libraries for LD kids and adults, two specialist colleges (david lewis centre in cheshire which i used to go to and woud still do now if one of my support staff coud drive my motability car every week) and bridge college, although DLC lets in over 25s but bridge is 25 and under), a dedicated proper actual club night for adults 18+ with LD called under one roof-in a bar called yes (in manchester),a dedicated comedy night for adultss with LD and/or ASC called frogtastic at the frog and bucket comedy nightclub,lots of shopping areas like the trafford centre,both cheshire and manchester are just amazing places.

We currently live in Canada but would like to move back soon and our daughter is almost 18 with an LD. Looking at the same thing...where to live. We have family and used to live in Berkshire... I guess we could live anywhere but also thinking the south. Following for any advice!

Hi we are originally from the north east about 20 years ago we moved to a lovely country town called Blandford Forum in Dorset .It is the best thing we did for my son (38) who has learning difficulties the school he went to in nearby Sturminster Newton was excellent he went there for a year the school got him into Bournmouth college for three years Where the have a dedicated class for people with learning difficulties .since he left college he attends the local day centre where he has a wide circle of friends .The town has a number of flats especially for our kids where four of his friends live independently and other assisted housing Ian is still at home but we are slowly progressing towards him leaving with lots of help from the day centre staff who are completely dedicated to the kids . The town itself is extremely friendly everyone knows the guys as the y often go out to the town while at the day centre so I know he will be safe . The local comunity police often go to the centre to see the guys and are always on hand when you need them .Overall I would highly recommend living here as we also have a good caers group too and it is a beautiful place

Hi!We live in Bradwell, Norfolk. We have two sons, the eldest is approaching 26 and has complex health problems and learning difficulties. He attends a local day centre, in Great Yarmouth but I know there are other centres in Lowestoft and Oulton Broad (both in Suffolk) - about 8 miles away. There is a working farm that is run by people with learning and physical disabilities, where they get to feed the animals and walk the llamas! Of course, there is the lovely seafront at Great Yarmouth and Gorleston with lots to do and North Norfolk has lots of lovely places to explore! Good luck x

LDAutie profile image
LDAutie in reply to XEX416S

bradwell? is that anywhere near croma? i know a little about croma,i love visiting as people have a lot of respect for others there and you dont get stares or abuse for being disabled,but then i get that feeling about much of norfolk and norwich.

XEX416S profile image
XEX416S in reply to LDAutie

Yes, Cromer is in North Norfolk- just over an hour away from us.

HI - we're in the same boat and looking at the moment. I was heartened to hear Pogdog's account of Blandford Forum as we've been looking in that area to move to. It is a beautiful part of the country and seems like there are lots of opportunities for those of us with adult children with autism/learning difficulties. Dorset has so much to offer - we totally fell in love with the county. Good luck with your search .... Lou

Hi im glad to hear youre thinking of living in dorset its such a lovely place the people are so welcoming and helpful we honestly wouldnt live anywhere else.the social services are good but its the staff at the day centre in Blandford that do most of the leg work because they are devoted to our guys.luckily the guys are a similar age so they have nights out (supervised)etc

BenjiB profile image
BenjiB in reply to pogdog

My son is in Dorset too at Sheiling college. It wasn’t easy getting funding, I won’t lie but I’d love him to stay in the area when college finishes. We are only 30 minutes away too.

Do your children have EHCP’s? If so They can stay in education until 25. My son is 22, he currently attends a specialist residential college. He lives there term time but you can attend as a weekly boarder or even a day student. He’ll be almost 24 when he leaves there. He has a great life. It’s set in 50 acres of forest and is right on the coast. His life is very full , lots of outdoor stuff, beach walks, tending to their chickens etc. They have a pool on site and their own shops. I’d definitely look into college courses.

Thank you so much for all the replies! It is heartening to read that people are really happy with their local areas. And it looks like the thread will be useful for others too.

LDAutie - Manchester does sound fab, but we have no connection at all to the NW, so I think it would just be too much of a leap in the dark for us. Our kids are not great travellers, so we couldn't do a lot of checking out of the area first.

Otherwise, Norfolk and Dorset are both on our long list. I know Blandford well! My parents lived there for a few years, then moved to Poole (they are both dead now, so no longer any connections there). Great to hear you are well supported in the area .

Young people where we are in S London don't seem to get funding for 19+ college - even those who are more able than our two. I've pretty much written off that possibility in my head, although it does sound lovely. They do have EHCPs (and are both still in school), but the LA can cease these as they see fit, I think, once they hit 19. We are lacking info,. to be fair, but have had no input from SS or our education caseworker since pre-pandemic, so it's difficult to understand the situation fully.

Anyway, off to research Dorset and Norfolk further!

BenjiB profile image
BenjiB in reply to Ushie

Yes they can and do try to cease to maintain the EHCP’s at 19. They do have to have a lawful reason to do so but even if they don’t it doesn’t stop them dragging parents through appeals they know they can’t win. We had to go to appeal for our son’s post 19 placement. We didn’t know at the time but Our children do qualify for legal aid in their own right though so worth looking into.

Just following through on this thread, as there were a couple of people who were interested in the Dorset area. Although we haven't been down in person, we have been very impressed by the resources that seem to be available in Dorset for adults (and children, in fact) with learning disabilities. We have made contact with a few organisations and Sturts Farm, People First Dorset, Employmyability (FE) and Weymouth Connect have all been very helpful. Dorset Abilities Group have been particularly welcoming and sound impressive - they are up for a National Diversity Award, and have a lot of daytime opportunities on offer. They are based in the Weymouth area, but serve clients from a wider region. Outside of Dorset, in the New Forest, we have previously found the Minstead Trust inspiring - they seem to have expanded their day services since we visited. Just thought I'd flag these organisations, in case others were interested.

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