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									Supporting independent living
for disabled people
An evaluation of the Foundations for Living project
Research Summary                                                                       September 2008

What is                               A long term research project tracked the experiences
                                      of disabled people as they moved from residential
Foundations for                       care to their new homes in the Foundations for Living
Living?                               project and compared their experiences to the
                                      intended outcomes for the project.
The Foundations for Living project
(FfL) demonstrates an innovative
approach to supporting disabled
people to live independently in
                                      Key findings
the community.
   The £7.5 million project is
                                      •   The project has been viewed overwhelmingly positively by the tenants
                                          involved. The majority felt more independent because of the ability to
based in a town-centre location
                                          get into town easily, increased freedom of movement and having their
and provides wheelchair
                                          own home.
accessible supported housing for
25 people ‘pepper-potted’ with
                                      •   Most said that they require less support now than when they first moved
                                          and that they had learnt new skills, such as cooking, money
housing for sale on the open
                                          management, buying shopping for the week and organising carers.
market. The project also includes
the Saxongate Community
                                      •   The FfL project demonstrates an innovative approach to service provision
                                          in the way that it brings together a number of interventions (housing,
Learning Centre which can be
                                          care and support, education and employment) to support disabled
accessed by anyone in the
                                          people to live independently.
community and which provides
a range of employment
                                      •   The project is also innovative in its approach to ‘pepper-potting’
                                          affordable accessible housing alongside private housing, delivered
programmes, vocational training
                                          through a partnership arrangement with a commercial developer.
and flexible meeting facilities for
local businesses and community
                                      •   The research highlights that ‘independent living’ is a concept which is
                                          understood and experienced differently by different people, and which
                                          changes over time, underlining the need for a personalised approach.

                                      Bruce has seen his life transformed over the last year thanks to
                                      Foundations for Living. Bruce, who became a wheelchair user
                                      after a motorbike crash, said:

                                      “I’ve now got my own front door for the first time since
                                      my accident. I’ve gone from living in a residential care
                                      home in a rural area to living independently. I am able to
                                      go into town for coffee, look around the shops and visit the
                                      supermarket which is only 5 minutes away. It’s brilliant.”                                                                                             1
Foundations for Living project

The Foundations for Living
project started in 2001 as a            Findings
response to both local need
and national policy.
Faced with the need to move to
                                        •   The project has exceeded any
                                            expectations that did exist and
more modern accommodation, a                has been viewed overwhelmingly
group of disabled people living in          positively by the tenants.
a residential care home in a rural      •   The majority of tenants felt
location said they were keen for            more independent because of
an opportunity to live in an urban          the ability to get into town
location with better access to              easily, increased freedom of
shops, community facilities,                movement and having their
volunteering and employment                 own home.
opportunities. As a result the          •   Living in Huntingdon was said to
Foundations for Living project              be ‘more exciting’ and to provide ‘more opportunities’. People were
took shape.                                 particularly positive about having a more independent life and being
    By working in partnership with          able to access shops more easily.
a commercial developer, Hill            •   Many tenants feel that they are more in control – more involved – in
Residential, Papworth Trust was             managing their own support.
able to create a scheme that fully      •   People are now satisfied with the level of support they receive although it
integrates affordable wheelchair            took some time to get the right balance between the support people felt
accessible housing with private             they needed and the support that was provided.
flats.                                  •   People now feel more able to deal with various aspects of independent
    The project also takes an               living without support and for the most part feel they’ve adapted well to
integrated approach to tackling             the new support structure.
key areas of disadvantage for           •   Most said that they require less support now than they did when they
disabled people including:                  moved and that they had learnt new skills, such as cooking, money
inaccessible housing, higher levels         management, buying shopping for the week and organising carers.
of unemployment, lower levels of        •   Most people were very enthusiastic about living in their own flats, and
skills and qualifications, and              especially liked the space, choosing their own furniture, the privacy –
isolation caused by inaccessible or         ‘better to have my own front door’, the proximity of shops and other
expensive public transport – issues         amenities, the opportunity to cook their own meals and take more care
which have been identified in policy        of their own affairs. The opportunity to live in their own flat appeared to
documents such as Improving the             be one of the key drivers for moving in the first place.
Life Chances of Disabled People.        •   The majority of tenants feel more in control of managing their own flat,
The project includes a number of            and socialise in their flat more.
the key elements required for           •   Many tenants feel more in control of their money (and no tenants felt
inclusive communities as described          less in control than they had been previously).
in Lifetime Homes, Lifetime
    The £7.5 million project received
£2 million of Fundraising income
from grants, trusts and individuals.

                                                                     Foundations for Living project

•   A number of tenants indicated that although they had expected it, the
                                                                                    Progress report
    experience of having to look after their own place could be
    overwhelming at times (especially when they had first moved). However,
                                                                                    The first tenants moved into their
    this did not ‘spoil’ the experience and for a few, having to deal with the
                                                                                    new flats in Huntingdon in April
    problems associated with having one’s own house was said to be ‘part
                                                                                    2005. The final four flats in the
    of what living independently is all about’.
                                                                                    third housing scheme were
•   People maintained friendships and got support from people who had
                                                                                    occupied in July 2007 once the
    moved with them to the new scheme. Some tenants also socialise with
                                                                                    care and support packages were
    people other than those they knew from Papworth Everard and had
                                                                                    approved by the local authority.
    found this easier in Huntingdon which is larger and more mixed than
                                                                                    The flats are fully accessible and
    Papworth Everard.
                                                                                    include features such as wide
•   Most people reported that they were satisfied with the availability of
                                                                                    corridors and doors, level access
    transport, with people generally able to access taxis when they need
                                                                                    showers, height adjustable
    them, although the cost of taxis, and travelling further afield can still
                                                                                    kitchen units, easy-to-access
    be problematic.
                                                                                    sockets and alarm/intercom
•   While many people welcomed the opportunity to move to Huntingdon,
                                                                                    systems, and assistive technology
    a number of people living in supported housing in Papworth Everard
                                                                                    as required.
    decided to stay either because they already felt independent, because
                                                                                       The support needs of tenants
    their current accommodation in Papworth Everard was perfectly
                                                                                    range from a few hours a week to
    adequate, because they felt ‘safe’ in Papworth Everard, or because
                                                                                    24 hour care.
    they had misgivings about the level of support they might receive in
                                                                                       Of the 24 accessible flats
                                                                                    (across three sites), 18 were
•   In terms of the wider impact of the project there is some evidence that
                                                                                    occupied by people who moved
    co-locating the private and accessible housing alongside each other has
                                                                                    from Papworth Everard (8 from
    led to increased contact between disabled and non-disabled residents,
                                                                                    residential care and 10 from
    and in a couple of cases an increased awareness of disability issues,
                                                                                    supported housing in the village).
    but further research would be needed to draw any firm conclusions in
                                                                                    The remaining 6 flats were
    this area.
                                                                                    occupied by disabled people living
                                                                                    in and around Huntingdon who
Saxongate Community Learning Centre                                                 needed accessible housing.
•   Papworth Trust has had a good uptake of courses at Saxongate by the
    general public (including other disabled people living in the community),
    but the use of Saxongate by tenants living at the scheme has been
    sporadic– people often drop in to chat to staff but have not undertaken
    many formal courses run at the centre.
•   A separate street survey of 185 local people indicated that the majority
    of people who were aware of the purpose of the centre said they felt
    Saxongate had had a positive impact on the community, primarily by
    raising awareness of disability issues and by bringing facilities to disabled
    people and the community as a whole.
•   The Saxongate staff team recognise the need to strike a balance
    between meeting the needs of the wider community as a whole and the
    needs of the FfL tenants.                                                                                                 3
Foundations for Living project

                                        Case study research
                                        •   The research project included case study reviews of interventions run by
                                            other organisations which were similar to those provided by the
                                            Foundations for Living project, with the aim of identifying good practice
                                            and opportunities for shared learning. Three initiatives were chosen to
                                            correspond to each element of the FfL project (housing, care and
                                            support, and community learning) and a fourth case study looked at
                                            another organisation’s approach to delivering an integrated initiative,
                                            albeit for a different user group.
                                        •   The most interesting aspect of FfL may be the intention to produce a
                                            joined-up intervention to facilitate independence for disabled people. In
Saxongate has two IT suites,                the research we did not identify any other projects in the UK attempting
an art room, an accessible                  to do this in the disability arena.
kitchen, two rooms with                 •   Other case studies indicated that open, regular discussions between
height adjustable interactive               staff teams about the wider aims of a project are important in delivering
                                            a strong and coherent service. This is particularly important for FfL as
whiteboards, an atrium café
                                            the services provided within the project are delivered by different staff
and a hot-desking area.
In its first year:                      •   A series of indices of independent living were developed as part of the
                                            FfL project. It is interesting to see that the other multi-dimensional
•   The regional college based their
                                            intervention reviewed in the case study work also identified the need for
    basic skills, ESOL and IT courses
                                            a tracking system that can take into account all the aspects of the
    at Saxongate
                                            interventions taking place.
•   2529 disabled people attended
                                        •   One issue that stands out from all the case studies relates to external
    meetings or training, with 9579
                                            funding and the issue of longevity and sustainability of a project. For
    visitors overall
                                            new projects it is possible to create a wave of enthusiasm which engages
•   Open days attracted 300 visitors
                                            funders, but maintaining the enthusiasm and interest of funders proves
    and showcased Thai cooking,
                                            to be far more difficult. In terms of centres like Saxongate, taking the
    belly dancing, and IT courses
                                            challenges of sustainability into consideration in the business model may
•   Of 45 students that enrolled on
                                            help protect against a possible reduction in initial funding streams.
    college courses in Sept 2007,
    eight had a disability, and 22      •   Linking to the concept of sustainability is the idea of stakeholder
                                            engagement in interventions. The case studies suggest that ensuring
    new learners enrolled for courses
                                            regular and flexible communication with stakeholders at all levels can
    due to the location and inclusive
                                            help build a responsive ‘infrastructure’ allowing organisations to deal
                                            with challenges as they arise, enabling organisations to engage in
•   Papworth Trust Employment
                                            continuous, informal learning and improvement of their services and
    Programmes at Saxongate
                                            activities, and contributing to the provision of a coherent service.
    supported 430 people
•   Tenants set up a club for
    community members
•   Local businesses made use of
    accessible meeting facilities
•   Staff worked with the hate
    crime equalities officer and
    students on a drama project to
    raise awareness of hate crime
    against disabled people.
                                                                    Foundations for Living project

The Foundations for Living project is based on an innovative
approach to independent living and provides many good practice
lessons for commissioners and other service providers.

Concepts of independent living
Tenants, many of whom were previously living in residential care, report
being more independent and more in control of their lives. People have
learnt new skills, met new people, and feel both more independent and
generally happier than they did prior to their move. It has exceeded any
                                                                                 James is disabled and recently
expectations that existed before the move and has been viewed
                                                                                 won a Gold Medal of Excellence
overwhelmingly positively by the tenants.
                                                                                 for outstanding and
Something that has become clear is that the concept of independent               inspirational students after
living is a complex one. Independence for one person can constitute              completing a mainstream City
something quite different for another. At best, independence can be              and Guilds IT course at
considered to be closely tied to autonomy in decision making, but the            Saxongate.
research showed that different individuals have very different ideas as to
what decision making is or should be within their realm. For example,            “I really enjoy going to
although one individual was proactively making the decision to pursue            Saxongate because it’s
routes to set up a social group for disabled people in Huntingdon, others        different and it gives me the
also identified the need for more social activities, but considered this to be
someone else’s role.
                                                                                 chance to meet a whole
                                                                                 new crowd of people. I’m
Differences in people’s view of independent living can also be said to           really proud of my award,
account for the split between those who wanted to move to Huntingdon,            and hope it helps me to
and those who decided to stay in Papworth Everard. Those who stayed did
                                                                                 reach my goal of running
not feel unprepared for independent living or unwilling to experience it;
rather, in their view they were already living independently in Papworth         my own business one day.”
Everard, albeit in a different way than those in the larger town.

A second key finding is that independent living is a process rather than a
single change of circumstances. The research found that individuals who
had at first struggled to adjust to a different way of living at the time of
their move had adapted to life in Huntingdon and identified strategies for
living more independently.

Both of the above conclusions reinforce the importance of person-
centred planning in putting together any intervention that aims to facilitate
independence. Identifying a personalised plan based on an individual’s
wishes and abilities would remove a large amount of the worry and anxiety
seen when applying a single intervention to a group of people.                                                                                          5
Foundations for Living project

                                 Joined-up approach
                                 The uniqueness of the Foundations for Living project comes from the way
                                 that it has brought together the elements of accessible housing, personal
                                 care and support for tenants (including support in the community), and the
                                 learning and skills agenda through Saxongate.

                                 Another key feature is the project’s town centre location which provides
                                 easy access to shops and leisure facilities without requiring the use of
                                 transport – often a limiting factor for disabled people. Disabled tenants,
                                 many of whom came from residential care with 24 hour care and support,
                                 clearly feel that the combination of having their own home in a town-centre
Annaliese and Kevin are          location, the support that they need for daily living, and a sense of greater
tenants of the Foundations for   control over their lives has made them happier and more independent.
Living project. They were
among the first residents to     The value of co-locating the community learning centre with the housing is
                                 less clear-cut. There has been a positive uptake of the facilities and
move in three years ago.
                                 courses at Saxongate by local businesses and individuals. There are also
                                 indications that it is raising awareness of disability issues in the community
“Myself and Kevin were very      as a whole – for instance a group of local retailers have taken up a BSL sign
excited to be moving into        language course to provide a better service to people who are deaf.
our brand new flat on the
first floor. Since that day      However, tenants have tended to use Saxongate for informal support and
we have never looked back,       social contact rather than for accessing formal learning courses. While this
                                 informal support for tenants may be highly valued – and help develop or
moving to Huntingdon             maintain people’s social integration – it can at times be at odds with the
was the best move we ever        wider aim of Saxongate to be a resource for the whole community.
made. We are right on the        Balancing these issues will need to be considered as the centre develops.
ring road with the shops
                                 The town-centre location appears to be a significant contributor to people’s
just over the road, a market
                                 social integration into the local community and therefore the location of
on three days a week,            accessible housing for disabled people should be considered carefully within
somewhere to go for              any future housing developments, as access to facilities appears to have a
entertainment if we want         significant impact on people’s independence.
to and plenty of places
                                 The project also appears to be unique in its approach to ‘pepper-potting’
to eat.”                         affordable accessible housing with private housing, delivered through a
                                 partnership arrangement with a commercial developer.

                                 The project was a success for the developer both in terms of the sales value
                                 of properties and the speed at which they sold, with the town-centre
                                 location appearing to have been the main attraction for buyers. Building
                                 private flats alongside accessible affordable housing did not appear to have
                                 any adverse impact and the developer is considering further schemes of
                                 this type.

                                                                    Foundations for Living project

As the research shows, helping disabled people live independently requires
coordination and collaboration among a number of diverse stakeholders.
Recognising the importance of consultative, open and responsive project
development is paramount to enable disabled people to have greater access
to housing, education, support, transport, employment and leisure
opportunities within inclusive communities.

As Papworth Trust continues to look for opportunities to develop other
independent living schemes, the findings from this report provide valuable
learning for future initiatives. Similarly, policy and social changes
encouraging the move towards independent living for disabled people mean
that these findings can be used by other organisations as part of an
evidence-base for the provision of services of this nature.

Profile of the tenants
The FfL project ran for a period of about five years, due in part to
the time taken to identify and purchase the right town-centre sites
(a key part of the FfL vision).

Of the original 32 residents living in residential care in Papworth Everard:
• 8 ultimately moved to become tenants in the FfL scheme
• 8 chose to become tenants in supported housing in Papworth Everard
• 10 people moved away to be nearer to family or friends
• 6 people passed away
Of the people who successfully moved to supported housing, a number had
previously been living in residential care for 30 years or more.

FfL scheme
Of the 25 tenants now living at the FfL scheme:
• 8 people moved from residential care in Papworth Everard
• 11 people moved from supported housing in Papworth Everard to live in
   a town-centre location
• 6 people came from the local area, either from residential care or having
   lived at home with parents or family

The age range of people living at the FfL scheme is between 19 and 64
years old. The scheme is for people with a physical disability or learning
disability.                                                                              7
Foundations for Living project

Awards for the Foundations
for Living project:                     About the evaluation project
•   NHF Neighbourhood Award             The long term evaluation of the FfL project was carried out by RAND
    2007 (Independent Living and        Europe, an independent research organisation. The evaluation used logic
    Older People category)              modelling to provide a framework for the policy context, objectives,
•   Housing Corporation Gold            inputs, outputs and expected outcomes from the project.
    Award 2008 (Building Cohesive
    Communities category)               The evaluation ran from October 2005 to March 2008 and captured the
•   Commendation in the CSIP Best       views of disabled tenants, people living in private housing, development
    Practice in Equalities Award for    stakeholders and members of the public using one-to-one interviews,
    the Eastern Region 2008             telephone interviews, street surveys and postal questionnaires. The
                                        evaluation also included case study research of other projects to identify
                                        shared learning and best practice.

                                        The evaluation project was supported by Cambridgeshire Horizons, East of
                                        England Development Agency (EEDA), English Partnerships, Gallagher
                                        Estates and Inspire East.

Further Information
Supporting independent living for disabled people: An evaluation of the Foundations for Living project,
Lila Rabinovich, Edward Nason, Tom Ling and Lidia Villalba Van Dijk. RAND Europe 2008.

Guide to developing inclusive communities: a 12-step guide to planning, designing and managing communities
which are inclusive for disabled people. Papworth Trust 2008.

For further information about the project contact the Policy & Research team:
Papworth Trust , Bernard Sunley Centre, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB23 3RG
T: 01480 357200 F: 01480 357201 E: Charity 211234

The information in this document is available in other formats on request.

                                                                                            Printed on recycled paper

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