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People with learning disabilities to be encouraged to live more independently

PUBLISHED: 10:44 14 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:44 14 October 2016

Exterior Bexley Council offices

Exterior Bexley Council offices

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The council is consulting on plans to modernise its learning disability strategy

Residents with learning disabilities are to be encouraged to live more independently as part of a new strategy drawn up by the council.

A three-month consultation is being held to explore the development of services that will promote greater independence, choice and control, while ensuring that vulnerable people stay safe.

The council currently spends almost £20 million a year to support around 500 people with a learning disability and their carers, providing residential care, supported living, day opportunities, transport, respite care, direct payments and homecare.

Brad Smith, the council’s cabinet member for adults’ services, said: “Our current support is still somewhat based on traditional services and the expectation that residents will accept what we offer, even if it is not what they really want,

“That may focus on a day centre with a limited range of activities, and does not include the chance to socialise in the evening or over the weekend.

“We want people of all ages to have the opportunity to be part of their community. That means the right care in the right place, being able to do things in their local area, meet new people, work or volunteer, learn, have fun and enjoy a good life.”

The council says it hopes the consultation will enable it to develop a new approach based on best practice and academic research, and acknowledged that significant investment will be needed to make community facilities accessible.

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