Rotherham Council has today launched a major new consultation as part of its plan to build a new in-house day service for people with learning disabilities, replacing the centre known as REACH.

The consultation on the new REACH Day Service is considering a £2.1m plan to build new state-of-the-art facilities that would offer a range of unique opportunities and services for people with learning disabilities, autism or high support needs and their families.

The two existing high support needs day service centres that make up REACH, the Elliot Centre in Rotherham and Maple Avenue centre in Maltby, have a number of issues including not meeting accessibility requirements, while the Council’s use of the Elliot Centre site is time limited due to the lease arrangements. These factors were considered by the Council’s Cabinet when deciding to take the consultation forward last month.

To mark the launch of the new consultation, the council has also unveiled an artists’ impression of what a new building could look like.

This latest consultation is part of a wider strategy that is making significant changes to learning disability support and services in the borough, ensuring everyone has access to a wide range of opportunities and is able to live as independently as possible

The 90-day consultation about a new day service for people with learning disabilities, autism or  high support needs, which runs until April 3rd 2022, asks service users, their families and carers what they want from a new service, what high quality day opportunities should look and feel like, and how best Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council can deliver on its commitment to transform the support it provides.

People can participate in an online survey, through engagement groups and a number of meetings will also take place across the borough to ensure that everyone is able to take part and have their say.

As part of the proposed consultation, the Council plans to ask for views about a new building/s and is encouraging people to share their thoughts on what it should offer and where it should be located.

The council hopes to engage with people with learning disabilities, carers, families and young people transitioning to adult services in the consultation and will be providing support to make sure everyone has the opportunity to take part. 

Councillor David Roche, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: “This is a significant milestone in our bid to deliver innovative, modern and transformative services for people with learning disabilities in the borough.

“Whilst day care facilities aren’t suitable for everyone, we have always maintained that we want to provide a high-quality service for those people with the most acute needs. That’s why we have already committed £2.1m in investment to make our ambitions for new day opportunity services a reality. Now we need to hear the views of service users and their families to make sure we get it right.

“The Learning Disability Transformation Programme will deliver high quality care and support that enables people with learning disabilities to be as healthy and independent as possible while also offering more personal choice in the support they receive.

“This new consultation is a major step forward in that journey and allows us to build something that is modern, flexible and features a wide range of services and facilities that will meet individual needs.”

Under the council’s commitment to invest in the transformation of the REACH service, the Council wants to ensure people with learning disabilities:

  • Have the opportunity to get a job and contribute to their community.
  • Have the opportunity to choose where they live.
  • Have access to a good quality health service.
  • Be kept safe and protected from all forms of exploitation.
  • Access services of the highest quality which make a difference in assisting people to be as independent as possible.
  • Offer services that are affordable, are personalised and are what people would want to choose.

The consultation will focus on what new day opportunities for people with high support needs will look and feel like and the types of support it will provide.

Following the consultation, final proposals for a new building(s) and future opportunities will be presented to the cabinet in September 2022.