How Adult Social Care is affected
As part of the budget cuts, Adult Social Care will have £40 million less to spend on adult social care services by March 2019. This is in addition to the £28 million that they have already cut from these services since 2013.
How Autism Sussex and the people using the services will be affected.
In October 2014, Autism Sussex received 3 years funding through the East Sussex Commissioning Grant Prospectus. We should have a further 2 years left of the funding but the plan is to cut 100% of it. The funding was granted to provide preventative services as follows:
1. Person Centred Support for People with Learning Disabilities and Autism who are the most excluded or face additional barriers to inclusion. This includes:
Two Adult Support Groups
Uckfield – This is a new group with the aim of ensuring that individuals within more rural areas of East Sussex have access to a Support Group. The group has not yet had the opportunity to become established.
The other group is in Hastings.
The groups are facilitated by autism specialists whose aim is to enable people with autism to develop coping strategies and resilience to deal with the issues and challenges they face on a daily basis. They help individuals to maintain their independence and to develop the skills and strategies that will support them to live more independently. The groups provide a safe environment that promotes peer support by sharing experiences and working together to find solutions. They also significantly contribute to creating friendships and in building social networks outside of the group.
One Group Members experience;
“Attending the Adult Support Group once a month has legitimised the convictions I have had myself all through my life. I have been able to identify the common strands that people with Asperger’s Syndrome experience, and without that I would have had no way of testing what I have been through. I have gained self confidence and knowledge that although all my life I have been told I talk garbage, for the first time I know that I haven’t. I have been shown understanding and been empowered by that understanding. I have been desperate for a way for people to take me seriously and I have found it. I have found friendship through the group something I have always struggled with as it was never based on the truth. I was always pretending who I was and for the first time I am accepted for precisely who I am. Understanding the varieties of personalities involved in autism, different responses to touch, groups, light has all shown me the infinite variety of people with autism. I know now that I don’t have to stereotype myself or others. The support, guidance and follow up has been exceptional and consistent. I know I’m not easy and that has never been a problem here. In fact I have become more flexible because together we look honestly at why we are not easy and how it affects others and ourselves. A revelation in acceptance!”
40 hours a year of 1:1 Mentoring
The 1:1 mentoring is one off and time limited for adults with an autism spectrum condition who require additional support. Examples of support include attending GP appointments, support with appeals for care or benefit related assessments, advice and support to gain a formal diagnosis, support with housing issues and completing applications forms.
Talk 1:1 on-line Forum
Talk 1:1 is a confidential on-line advice and support service and is delivered by Autism Sussex specialist advisors. This service provides support and advice to individuals with autism, carers and professionals on a range of issues including housing, healthcare, employment, ATOS assessments and appeals as well as advice on the referral and diagnostic pathway for children and adults and strategies for specific difficulties and challenges faced by adults with ASC, carers and professionals, The service signposts and links people to Autism Sussex services as well as other local and universal services. It supports the mental health and well-being of individuals by reducing risk, anxieties and stress which helps to prevent individuals reaching crisis point.
Quote from a Talk 1:1 facilitator who was responding to an enquiry about a referral for diagnosis:
“The features the family describe, the written medical history and the evidence of sensory sensitivity in terms of noise are all strong indicators towards an autism spectrum condition. The 1-1 was discussing how autism may be presenting and the family’s relief and validation as I asked questions and gained a picture was over whelming for them. The family have no funds available to privately fund an autism intervention”.
2. Person Centred Support for People with Learning Disabilities and Autism
Pathway to Employment
Autism Sussex has employed Job Coaches to support individual ‘trainees’ to develop practical and social skills to enable them to move along their pathway towards volunteering and employment. Trainees receive intensive, specialist input and training at the Cafe Des Arts in Hastings (Autism Sussex Social Enterprise). Last year 15 trainees also had access to training and work experience supported by Autism Sussex Job Coach at the Community Fruit and Veg Project (a Hastings based Social Enterprise). Trainees are able to build a portfolio and receive ongoing support to enable sustainable work placements in the community. Some individuals have already grown in confidence and developed skills to enable them to move into volunteering positions and paid work. Trainees have stated that “this opportunity has changed my life” this is often echoed by parents and carers.
Under the Care Act 2014, all Local Authorities must provide or arrange for the provision of a range of preventative services. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/23/contents/enacted
The Care Act also “places a duty on local authorities to ensure that information and advice on care and support is available to all and when they need it. Independent advocacy must also be arranged if a person would otherwise be unable to participate in, or understand, the care and support system”.
All of the work and services Autism Sussex provide under these proposed cuts is preventative and will impact on the lives of individuals with autism and their families.
Have Your Say
You can have your say on Adult Social Care budget decisions. The consultation is on their website: http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/ascbudget
Tel: 01273 481 565
Address: ASC Budget Consultation 2015, County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes, BN7 1UE
You can also have your say on ESCC budget decisions as one whole council. The consultation is on their website: http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay
Please note the consultation deadline is 18th December 2015. If you don’t voice your concerns now, these and many other vital services will be lost.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Enquiry line: 0345 450 0060