Louis jumps on a trampoline, as his mother Kate looks on

Supported living with a difference

Web AdminNews item, SCLD Publication

Supported living for people with learning disabilities does not have to fit a prescribed model.

There are few people who know this better than Kate and Louis Sainsbury, a mother and son who have found the ideal balance between independence and support, in Louis’s home, Appletree.

Many people with learning disabilities face challenges in securing the right kind of support in a setting which fits their needs.

Sadly, as is detailed in Louis’s story, this can lead to a breakdown in care in the community setting, and can even result in a person with learning disabilities being admitted into a locked hospital ward. When this happens, decisions are taken out of the hands of the person and their family. In some cases, individuals have been placed at secure hospitals miles away from their relatives, despite never having committed a crime.

These ‘out of area placements’ have been investigated by researchers and the Scottish Government in its initial Coming Home report (2018) and subsequent implementation report (2022).

However, both housing and access to appropriate support and care continue to be human rights issues for people with learning disabilities.

In this context, The Story of Appletree offers a valuable and unique insight into what can be achieved in a supported living setting when the person is placed at the centre.

The Story of Appletree is primarily Louis’s story, with his perspective at the centre, as told by his mother Kate. It is also a piece of research into supported living for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and has been co-produced by the Aiteal Trust, Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Portsmouth.

Read The Story of Appletree.