Learning to Live - home is where the heart is

Profile: Oaklea, 23rd Jan, 2020

In response to a need for more options for young people with learning disabilities in transition from school to adulthood; Oaklea has developed a unique concept, “Learning to Live” with our partner of choice - Signature Housing.

For young people with learning disabilities the option to attend residential college away from home, after finishing school, can be a daunting one. Funding can be agreed for just one year at a time for courses that normally last up to 3 years, and places on such courses are limited.

There are no longer any residential colleges within the county of Cumbria and young people and their families are finding themselves attending colleges such as Beaumont (Lancaster) and Dilston (Hexham); some distance from home. The young people who are lucky enough to attend residential college often find that at the end of their course they return to their family home.

Oaklea Operations Director, Alex Wolfenden: “Oaklea’s Learning to Live project is an alternative to a residential college and takes learning a step further by equipping young people with the skills to live independently. The aim is that after they complete the programme they do not return home but instead can live in the community as independently as possible. Our initial pilot project will be based within the Kendal area of Cumbria. Young people with learning disabilities will enrol as ‘learners’ in our project and they will live together in a shared house where they will engage in the Learning to Live programme for approximately 3 years; similar in length to the residential college option.”

The image above shows members of the team from Cheshire based Signature Supported Housing CIC - Rob Bryan, Sue Westwater and Angela Stoneley with Oaklea CEO Clive Wigley and Operations Director Alex.

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