Formed in November 2012, on the day former Health Minister, Sir Norman Lamb delivered his passionate Winterbourne Speech, gaining cross party support in Parliament, we built our company on his vision – to deliver person-centred care for vulnerable people. Despite the huge challenges the sector faces, we maintain these values to this day.
In 2013, we opened Chapel Lodge, our first supported living cluster, where people have experienced uninterrupted living for longer than they have experienced at any other time in their lives.
In 2014, we opened Cotton Hall Farm – our first reaction to demand for higher complex cases. Here we had tremendous success in moving individuals from long-term hospital stays, with one person moving into her ‘dream home’ – something that was previously out of reach for her.
Mallory was a support and care package take over which has ensured individuals could continue to live in their own homes, while Watergate – which opened in 2015 – has helped us work with people well known to the criminal justice system. Since opening Watergate, many have never re-offended and have improved their skills and independence.
In response to a growing requirement to provide additional services to encourage skill building and even paid work, we opened our first café – Whitby Park Café. This was – and still is – a tremendous success, serving the people we employ and the customers who access the café and its surroundings.
To date we have now opened up over 14 supported living services with another 10 in the pipeline to be delivered by the end of 2019. We have developed our short term respite supported living services for which we are heavily involved with in Cheshire East (link to videos). There is massive expansion too in our life skills development service, thanks to the people we support driving different enterprises including a shop, several cafes, a catering service and crafts. The people involved in these enterprises are now enjoying paid work at greater than national minimum wage and coupled with our work with local colleges they are gaining valuable certification in the hope their own personal development can mean they can work anywhere if they so wish to.
One of our greatest success stories to date is we have several people on an assistant support worker programme and who are now very active in working with us and supporting those from a position of experience of being supported. In addition some people have now set up their own Quality Checker Group and developed their own audit tool. These guys are now able to audit not just 1st Enable but other care providers.
Several years ago we wanted to deliver a strong message out to the public that changed perception about people with learning disabilities and the vital work support workers do whilst celebrating good commissioning. Primal Media worked with Channel 4’s educational production team and they asked some of the people we support, their families and our staff if they would help us in achieving this. The result was a great piece of TV which resulted in lots of very positive messages from other supported people, public, professionals, families and support workers who all identified with its positive message. We are sure this has inspired lots of people to get involved up and down the country in providing others with great support, leading to independent lives.
Channel 4’s Home Free – Starring The people we support, their families and 1st Enable staff