New bespoke residential service for autistic adults opens near Lancaster

New residential provision for adults with complex needs including autism, severe learning disabilities and non-verbal communication challenges has opened in Kirkby Lonsdale.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 20th May 2022, 9:44 am

Middleton Fells has been developed in newly refurbished buildings and grounds, previously a public house, comprising six single occupancy flats and bungalows, located within a large communal garden.

Middleton Fells is part of Options Autism, a specialist provider of caring and learning services for young people and adults with a primary diagnosis of autism, and is part of Outcomes First Group.

Registered manager Molly Livesey said: "I feel privileged to have been heavily involved in the planning and redesigning of the new site.

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Inside one of the properties at Middleton Fells.

"Four of our six residents have moved with us from their previous accommodation at Underley Garden, 20 minutes away. We have one new resident and have started assessments for another potential resident.

"I have been part of the care team at Underley Garden for seven years, so I have an extensive understanding of the needs of our residents.

"The team and I pride ourselves on our ability to provide person-centred care – so making sure the new homes were best-suited for the people we support was of paramount importance.

"Each of the new living spaces is tailored to the needs of each individual, so we provide specific facilities that will be most beneficial to them, for example, one of the homes was designed with a sensory room rather than a kitchen, and another resident has their own private garden with soft flooring.

Molly Livesey, registered manager at Middleton Fells.

"Our on-site team comprises 20 highly skilled, innovative and experienced key workers, who work alongside our therapy team - a consultant clinical psychologist, assistant psychologist, speech and language therapist and occupational therapist.

"Our staff and therapy teams carefully planned each resident’s transition to ensure that the move was as comfortable as possible for them. The move was a great success, and all of the people we support are incredibly happy in their new homes.

"At Middleton Fells all the residents are neighbours, so they have more opportunities to socialise with each other.

"We included communal areas in the planning of the building and there is a gazebo in the landscaped garden, where residents and staff can get together outside in the summer months.

"The residents have their own flat to retreat to for a calm, environment where they can really relax. We hope to develop the garden further with the addition of a greenhouse and raised beds, as well as a chicken coop - we are already developing a real community feel.

"The residents continue to enjoy their usual weekly activities like trips to the swimming pool, going for walks and lunch in town, visiting local zoos and open farms, and will also benefit from new onsite special events and holiday festivities.

"‘It may sound like a cliche, but making a difference is the most enjoyable aspect of the job. The people we support have extremely complex needs and when we help an individual to overcome a challenge, large or small, the reward we all feel is enormous.

"Providing bespoke accommodation alongside expert care has an incredibly positive impact on our residents, they have the chance to develop to their full potential and we all feel honoured to be part of that process, witness their achievements and be part of their lives.”