Pioneering Supported-Living Scheme for People with Autism Launches at the House of Commons

November 14, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
14 November 2007 – The House of Commons has hosted the launch of The Drive – a pioneering supported-living scheme in Waltham Forest - offering adults with autism their own homes and giving them the opportunity to live more independently within the community.

Introduced by Iain Duncan Smith - MP for Chingford and Woodford Green - the launch event celebrated the success of The Drive, and gave attendees an overview of the scheme and its success in enabling tenants to live full and independent lives.

Other keynote speakers were Linda Milton, CEO for Waltham Forest Housing Association (WFHA), who presented background information on the Housing Association and the scheme, Jo Howland from Adepta and Robert Pritchett, Regional Director for Greater London and South East England for the National Autistic Society.

The scheme, which has been specially designed by the Frankham Consultancy Group for people with autism, has been developed in partnership with WFHA, Redbridge and Waltham Forest Learning Disability Partnership, support provider Adepta and telecare and telehealth specialist Tunstall.

Part-funded through a grant of £383,000 made by the Housing Corporation, the supported housing scheme consists of five self-contained units plus a communal lounge and garden. The flats have been custom-designed to accommodate the specific needs of individual tenants, who had previously lived in a care home. A donation from the Dennis Wise in the Community charity enabled further modifications to a specific unit.

Tenants each have an individualised support package designed to help them develop independent living skills and become integrated into the local community

Iain Duncan Smith said: “Everyone should have the right to live with independence and dignity and giving people with autism increased choice and control through a scheme such as The Drive has to be applauded; I am very proud of its success.

Innovative community-orientated schemes such as this prove that having a physical or learning disability such as autism doesn’t necessarily mean you lose your independence, I firmly believe that schemes like The Drive will go a long way to help improve the quality of life for many people.”

Linda Milton, added: “'I hope that the event showed to those who were not directly involved in the scheme the difference that this project has made to the individual lives of those living there.

Now that Waltham Forest Housing Association have proved the success of this unique scheme I hope that the decision makers in central and local government will enable not only WFHA but other RSL's, both small and large, to do more innovative projects for disadvantaged local people in their own communities.”