Newly built accommodation to enable people with learning disabilities to achieve a greater level of independence has been opened in Kibworth by HRH The Princess Royal.
The development consists of nine self-contained apartments over three floors and is run by the national learning disabilities charity, Hft. It includes several single flats and one larger flat and offers 24 hour support onsite. The apartments will be equipped with technology specific to the needs of the residents to support them to live more independently and safely.
The project has been partially funded by Hft’s ongoing East Midland’s Design for Life Appeal which is working to raise money to provide living accommodation for people with learning disabilities in the county, together with training, employment and volunteering opportunities.
Today (Friday 2nd May) Hft Patron, The Princess Royal, attended the official opening celebrations which started with a guided tour of the property. This included being shown a flat by one of the new residents before heading to Hft’s offices in Kibworth for the second part of the event.
On arrival at the office the Princess met with more than 35 invited guests including people supported by the charity, employees and donors. To formally mark the opening of the new supported living apartments The Princess Royal signed a commemorative guest book and gave a speech. The Princess spoke about her support for Hft’s ongoing commitment to creating better outcomes for people with learning disabilities through moving into smaller, more personalised services within the community. She also commended donors for their generous support raising funds for this development thorough the Design for Life Appeal.
Chief Executive of Hft Robert Longley-Cook said: “We are delighted that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal was able to officially open these new apartments. This marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the way we support people with learning disabilities through our Leicestershire service.
“Many of the people who will be moving into these apartments were previously supported at a large intentional style community. However we passionately believe that more personalised services within the mainstream community offer the best outcomes for the people we support. We have seen people thrive and grow when given the option of where they want to live and who they want to live with. These environments also offer greater levels of one-to-one interaction with support workers and easier access to the community so that individuals have the opportunity to build friendships and access work opportunities.
Nick Townsend, Hft’s Vice Chair of Trustees and member of the Appeal Committee, said: “We are extremely grateful to all those who have donated to our Design for Life Appeal. Their generous and ongoing support has helped to make this development possible and moving forward will help us continue to meet the changing needs of the people we support both locally and nationally.”
In April 2013 Hft merged with Self Unlimited and the charity currently supports more than 2,500 people with learning disabilities across the country. Locally, Hft supports 72 people in the Leicestershire through a mixture of residential care, supported living and day services or supported employment opportunities.
Hft is a national charity providing local support for people with learning disabilities and their families. For more information on Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk