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Celebrating Independence Day, the carnival way!

Residents in Attleborough celebrated the launch of a brand-new learning disability service with an official opening event.

Sanctuary Supported Living’s Oak Lodge and Laurea House is an enablement service providing short-term accommodation to support adults with a range of low-level learning disabilities on their pathways for independence. It opened last year as a result of a partnership with Norfolk County Council, which included a capital grant of £120k and the dynamic redevelopment of two buildings which had previously been empty for eight years.

The service accepts referrals from Norfolk County Council’s adult social care team and, through support from staff and the provision of assistive technology, residents can look forward to developing their daily living skills and living independent lives.

The official opening event was a carnival-themed Independence Day celebration, chosen by residents who have moved into the service from various backgrounds and were excited to celebrate their own, newfound independence.

It was attended by lead commissioner Matthew Mallett, as well as Deputy Mayor, Taila Taylor, neighbours within the local community, residents, and Head of Service for Sanctuary Supported Living, Jane Knights.

Guests enjoyed a tour before getting stuck into activities which included sipping mocktails, facepainting, and traditional carnival games like ring toss. A stilt walker blew giant bubbles and invited others to join in the fun with a carnival workshop teaching juggling and balancing tricks. As the barbecue was fired up, residents from Oak Lodge shared their aspirations and what they had already achieved since living in supported housing.

The delivery of the enablement service has seen Sanctuary Supported Living bringing to life its ambitious plans to play a central role in transforming the way that services are designed and delivered in Norfolk. The impact Oak Lodge has already made in its first year of opening was recognised when it was shortlisted for a National Learning Disability and Autism Award in June.

Head of Service for Sanctuary Supported Living, Jane Knights, said: 

“I hope that our guests had a great time and could see just how much of an impact the service has had in benefitting residents in such a short space of time.

“Oak Lodge is ready to welcome and support residents on their journey, and we look forward to the future where we will continue to meet their needs to enable great achievements and positive outcomes.”

Norfolk’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr Shelagh Gurney, added: “Specialist housing like Oak Lodge enables people to grow the confidence and skills to live as independently as possible in vibrant communities.

“This is a brilliant example of how the right type of housing, support and technology can empower people to plan for their future and is why we are investing £18m in supported living developments across Norfolk.”

Resident, Liam, said: “Since living at Oak Lodge, I’ve got a part-time job and I’ve been improving my cooking, learning to do my washing, and keeping my room tidier. I learn new skills every day with the help of my keyworkers, and I think Oak Lodge is good for people who want to be more independent.”

For more information about Sanctuary Supported Living’s services for people with disabilities, see our latest news or find a service near you.

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