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New Leicestershire housing scheme gets Ruth’s stamp of approval

New adult social care housing in Markfield

group of people social distanced on a building site
Affinity Trust, Leicestershire County Council, and JWF Group Midlands visiting Billa Barra with Ruth (L-R Simo Dube, Christine Radford, Natalie Leader, Richard Tellam-Clark, Ruth Neal, and Neil French)

A Leicestershire woman with a learning disability herself is helping with the design of the new housing development for other people with learning disabilities

The county council, alongside national charity, Affinity Trust, and groups which commission health services are involving Ruth Neal on the design of a supported living facility which helps people with autism and other learning disabilities to leave hospital and live within local communities.   

Ruth has been working alongside the partnership offering her unique insight of having lived both in hospitals and in supported living.

Ruth said: “It made me feel really happy and positive. I’m glad the partnership is trying to make it perfect for other people, and I really hope that they love it.”

The project Ruth is helping with consists of four self-contained bungalows in Markfield, each with its own garden and round-the-clock support from Affinity Trust. The bungalows will be specially adapted for people with learning disabilities, and the whole site has been designed with their safety in mind.

Councillor Christine Radford, county council support member for adult social care, visited Billa Barra Lane alongside Ruth to check on the progress of the work.

We are so pleased that Ruth has played such a key role in this project from the start. We always aim to build the safest, most fit-for-purpose homes for our residents and getting someone’s personal experience to help guide the build is truly priceless. 

Rachna Vyas, Executive Director of Integration and Transformation at NHS Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do and Ruth’s role in shaping the new facility is testament to our commitment to help improve the lives of local people with learning disabilities.

“Some of our patients have very complex needs and so it’s important that they can move successfully out of hospital and back into their local community as safely and quickly as possible.

“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure this development and the support services provided will improve the lives of our patients.”

The Markfield site is being developed through a capital grant from NHS England, designed to help people with learning disabilities and autism move out of hospital accommodation into the community.

Since moving out of hospital into her own supported home in Glen Parva, Ruth has flourished and has enjoyed walking, cycling, and has also been on holiday for the first time.

Building work started in March and, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, work is on schedule with the new residents due to move in during the Spring of 2021.

Over the past 12 months, around 90 adults have moved into supported living services from residential care. 

Find out more about Supported Living 

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