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 New Beginnings Day Service offers a range of activities including arts & crafts sessions, adult learning, gardening, gentle exercise, music and dance. www.ageuk.org

  • DCF Premier Workshops. The DCF Haven Day Centre 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. All this takes place in a caring Christian environment www.dcfpw.org.uk

  • Brunel Care. Willows Day Centre, Lawrence Weston. www.brunelcare.org.uk

  • Brandon Trust. Provision of services for young persons with additional needs. www.brandontrust.org

  • Milestones Trust. Dementia Day Care, Brentry. info@milestonestrust.org.uk

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