William Morris specialises in communication we also specialise in participation – just a quick look at the range of work and volunteer placements across our provision tells you that we put a massive value on people getting the communication skills and the confidence to join in and advocate for themselves whatever the situation or context. This is founded on a strong ethic within the curriculum for the college and the programmes across our growing provision. It all starts from the positive relationships that we establish through our staff. We support people to grow and make progress – nowhere more so than in our independent living programme.
Here’s a few things that people have said about living in WMC:
"Throughout our inspection we were struck by the relaxed and homely atmosphere in both houses. People and staff seemed to enjoy each other’s company. People were engaged in conversation with each other and staff and there was a sense of fun"
Care Quality Commission (CQC) Inspection - Read full report here
We support people with communication difficulties and severe learning difficulties, great comments for an organisation devoted to giving people confidence. The same report went on to say
“Promoting people’s independence was a theme running through people’s care records. Guidance was included for staff on how to work alongside people providing coaching for people to carry out activities themselves. Staff told us they saw this as a key part of their role. One said, ‘Preparing people for more independent living is crucial’.
We operate a carefully planned pathway for each individual learner and trainee. First and foremost, we develop their communication; but we also help them develop the skills to live as independently as possible. For some this means attaining the skills to access the ‘supported living model’ held by local authorities to be the most attractive ongoing destination for people with learning difficulties and disabilities. For others it’s about establishing a model that will give them most opportunities to control their own living, in doing this we actually develop that model with our learners and trainees. We undertake independent cooking with each individual as part of their ‘study programme’ or in the case of trainees their ‘futures’ pathway. We run what we call ‘curriculum 24’ this means that all aspects of life in WMC are linked to individual targets, this is just as relevant in the living accommodation where people interact as part of their daily routine as in: the social enterprises, the work placements, the resource centres, classroom, therapy sessions, workshops, the classrooms or the social and leisure settings.
In fact, it’s more important when people are out shopping for their dinner or buying their toiletries in town because that’s where they interact with their local community. It’s where the confidence comes in and where some of the best progress is made, we plan for it, look for it and recognise it all – all or work is based around developing those choice and decision making skills so essential to operating happily and safely in a fast changing world.
Our accommodation and the steps towards independence and safe living are carefully matched to each individual at WMC. Whether they’re at in our specialist college ‘Hiram’ complex, our ‘Bridging the Gap’ programme in the Bridge ‘step up’ apartments, our independence apartment attached to Hiram, our independence house ‘Merton’ or our brand new communication and sensory house ‘Willow’. People are supported (often on a 1:1 basis) to gain the skills to look after themselves and make decisions and choices about their lives. This could be something as simple as looking after their own belonging and developing an awareness of what it means to live with other peers. Or as complicated as organising their own work and leisure time, taking responsibility for their own learning and behaviour. Our staff are all professionals and we have an intensive training schedule that includes 4 full weeks of training every year for every staff member. Additionally, we also have a cohort of young volunteers who bring a youthful dynamism to the campus and specialise in contributing to the social and leisure elements of the learner and the trainee experience.
We take safeguarding particularly seriously, this what Ofsted said about us following the inspection of our College in June 2016,
“Your arrangements to ensure safety of all students and to help them understand how to keep safe, including when using the internet, are good. The ‘helping hand’ system is particularly good and ensures all students have a designated member of staff to refer to should they have any concerns.”
Ofsted Report - Read full report here
The CQC support this view of our ability to keep people safe, we have detailed and comprehensive: care plans, detailed and comprehensive individual risk assessments, detailed communication passports and programmes supported by our own Speech and language specialist, behaviour strategies and programmes, medication plans and procedures, learning strategies to support Individual learning plans. This is what they said,
“We observed people in both houses and saw they reacted positively to staff and seemed relaxed and contented. Relatives said they felt people were safe. People were kept safe by staff who knew about the different types of abuse to look for and what action to take when abuse was suspected”
CQC inspection report November 2015
“Promoting people’s independence was a theme running through care records .”