RHLT was initially formed by a group of concerned parents to provide long term residential care to a small group of adults with learning disabilities in Richmond. However, since its foundation in 1985, the Trust has developed a range of other services providing people who have a learning disability in the Richmond Borough with a high quality of opportunity through the provision of a range of residential, leisure and daytime services.
In 2017 the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames issued the ‘Tender for the Provision of Care Services in Residential Accommodation, Supported Living and Floating Support Settings for Adults with a Learning Disability’. The tender covered 22 residential and supported living schemes.
RHLT submitted what we believed to have been a very strong bid against this tender in partnership with a national provider of support for learning disability. The bid would have allowed us to continue to run our residential and supported living schemes at Cedars Road in Hampton Wick, Mayfair Avenue in Whitton, Hampton Road in Teddington and Crinan Lodge in Kew.
Unfortunately we learnt in January 2018 that our partnership bid had not been successful. The Council has decided to reduce the number of providers in the Borough from the current eight to three. These will be United Response, Metropolitan Housing Trust and Walsingham all of whom are existing providers in the Borough. This change will come into effect on 1st April 2018.
Despite the loss of our residential and supported living schemes, the Trust will continue to serve the community by providing a significant range of leisure activities and our work experience scheme which are open to the wider population of adults with learning disabilities in Richmond. Some may be living at home with their parents or carers, some in supported living schemes and residential care homes run by other organisations, and some may be living independently.
We are also shortly to open the ‘People Hive’ in Heath Road, Twickenham and on which we have recently concluded the lease and refurbished the property.
The People Hive is a new venture for RHLT and will be a community hub located in Twickenham town centre that will provide an effective means of supporting vulnerable adults by giving them a valuable opportunity, initially to volunteer, and then the potential for paid work in a safe and encouraging environment.
It will develop community inclusion for people with Learning disabilities, be an accessible drop in advice centre, a place where people can be signposted to other organisations as well as a place to come and be safe.
Within the People Hive we will provide the local community with the opportunity to have their art work displayed in exhibitions and will also retail artwork and craft items made and supplied by local artists.
The People Hive will also run workshops where speakers will come and talk to help improve the public’s perception of people with learning disabilities.
It will provide an administrative point for RHLT. Having a town centre presence will enable us to promote RHLT as an organisation helping more adults with a learning disability, their carers, families and other professionals to be aware of and access RHLT services, as well as support, advice and information from other organisations.