Prior to the 1980’s Bristol was considered by many to be the UK’s capital for the number of hospitals where adults with additional needs were accommodated, with many being referred from other towns and cities. 17% of Bristol’s population are disabled. Of these 26% are aged 50-64, and 57% are 65 or over.

The challenge

There is a shortfall in quality support, care providers, activities, and services for vulnerable adults, especially those with additional or complex needs.

The national Welfare Reform process has resulted in a significant reduction in disability-related benefits, including changes to the Independent Living Fund, Access to Work and Employment Support Allowance.  

Nationally, fewer than 50% of disabled people are employed and disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty. In Bristol, there are 1,800 adults with learning disabilities , being approximately 0.4% of the Bristol patient population. In addition there are many who are registered with physical disabilities, though the numbers are not known.  The 2014 Coping Index produced by Scope ranked Bristol 147th out of 152 local authorities, stating that the ‘Coping Level’ for disabled people in Bristol is ‘Very Bad’.

Since 2000 many centres that used to provide support to those with disabilities in the Bristol region have closed such that there are few local authority centres now in existence. The charity sector is being expected to meet the needs.  

The response

  • Age UK offers a range of activities including arts & crafts sessions, adult learning, gardening, gentle exercise, music and dance

  • Brandon Trust provides services for young persons with additional needs

    Brunel Care is a Bristol-based charity which has been providing housing, care and support for older people for over 75 years

  • DCF Premier Workshops provides a stimulating environment, offering various activities, and day-care or assistance, to adults with restricted mobility, sensory impairment, or who have learning support needs

  • Milestones Trust support people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, dementia, and those with complex behavioural needs

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