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Understanding Learning Disability
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Current information about reports and resources, available nationally and locally from Government and Hampshire County Council and other organisations involved in social care for people with learning disabilities.


  • Have your say... Orchard Close
  • Resource about abuse
  • Interesting reading (LeDeR)
  • Connect to Support Hampshire
    Advertising Events

Orchard Close Respite Unit

The future is still uncertain

No final decision has yet been made about the future of Orchard Close Respite Centre. A number of Health & Social Care Committee meetings have been held with votes taken but for now it is simply being said that the Respite Centre will continue to operate until autumn 2020. Decision time on the future of the Centre will be in the autumn of this year. 
In the meantime there will continue to be discussion and consideration of the need for this Respite Centre, the amount that could be saved by its closure and other matters.  
This is disappointing for all the supporters of Orchard Close who took time to complete the Consultation document in the first place, organised powerful deputations to the Health & Social Care Committee, have lobbied members of the Committee and who have been hoping for a swift resolution.  
Knowing that the future is uncertain for a much loved and high quality facility, where your son or daughter is happy and receives excellent care, puts an additional strain on carers who have previously always relied upon its service. So many of the Council’s valued Respite Units have been closed in recent years and carers do not want to see Orchard Close added to that list. The move to short breaks in local shared lives placements is not something that most carers want. 

Orchard Close Temporary Reprieve

The Health and Social Care Committee reviewed the results of the Consultation on the Proposed Closure of the Orchard Close Respite Centre. Then they heard deputations from people with learning disabilities who used the centre and from their carers. Their evidence was so compelling that the Committee voted unanimously against the Closure.

However in a surprise move, the Executive Member, Councillor Fairhurst refused to enforce the decision and postponed it, leaving the Centre open until March 2020, with its fate to be decided before then. Councillors decided to “call in the decision”.

Do look at the link below to read more about the details.

Have your say...

The proposed closure of Orchard Close Respite Service, Hayling Island


Hampshire County Council Adult Services Consultation announced: open from 28 September to 21 December,  2018.


“This is a public consultation to seek the views of service users and other interested stakeholders on proposals to close Orchard Close, with a view to providing more personalised and tailored respite solutions to those people who currently use the service.

The way social care is provided is changing with an emphasis on wellbeing, prevention, early intervention and individual choice. People want more choice and control over their care. We want to encourage people with less complex needs to access appropriate support and services that enable them to integrate more into their local community.

Where building-based respite is required for individuals requiring more intensive support, it should be delivered from modern facilities – for example, the recently-constructed Hindson House in Basingstoke and the new respite facility under construction at Locks Heath. Both these services have been designed to meet complex needs in a way that Orchard Close cannot replicate due to its physical layout.

Further details, including how to take part in the consultation can be found at the following

During the course of the consultation, those people who use Orchard Close as well as their families and carers, will have the opportunity to meet, on a one-to-one basis, with senior managers from the County Council to discuss the proposals, and potential alternative respite solutions.”


Eastleigh Borough & Romsey MENCAP Comment:

  • Respite is important for the person with the learning disability as well as the carer who has a break from caring. 
  • Many people have loved using Orchard Close because of its location near to the sea, it has given respite a real holiday feel. The service is apparently often under subscribed in the winter months but how many people who have a respite allocation do not use it in full? 
  • Could it be “under subscribed” because there are not enough people who have access to it?  (The same argument was used in the various attempts to close Highfield House Respite Unit in the 2000s). 
  • Respite seems to be a diminishing resource, with short breaks being the preferred option of Adult Services, though not necessarily the preference of those who want and need respite. 
  • The argument that “young people prefer a different kind of respite” is relevant, but those young people will age and want something different later in life. We do not dispense with services, just because the people who are currently young, do not value them!

There are many more arguments for and against – please feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Make sure you have your say and help protect this resource for the future. 

Hampshire Learning Disability Plan Review for Adults 2018
Friday 28 November 2018


The Plan was launched at Wells Place Sanctuary at the end of last year. If you have not seen a copy of the Plan, you can request a hard copy from Adult Services. It makes a good read and should be widely available – along with the LD Charter which we supplied with this newsletter last year.

New resource about abuse from Hampshire County Council Health and Social Care

This an easy read booklet to explain what abuse is and what to do if it happens to you.

Interesting Reading: 
The Government’s response to the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme Second Annual Report.


This is the response to findings that people with learning disabilities die earlier than a sample of the rest of the population. There are findings for the health service and for the care sector which include better training and improved communication.

If you have worries about the health of your relative this document might be a useful tool to refer to when dealing with health and care professionals. There is an easy read version too. Find it on

Connect to Support Hampshire

Connect to Support Hampshire is a new countywide online information and advice guide and directory of local services for adults with care and support needs. It provides a one stop shop for adults in Hampshire looking for information, community support and care options.


Usable by anyone; 600+ listings of services near you; directory of care homes and home care agencies; Information and advice regarding care and support.


Advertising Events...

Connect to Support (part of Health & Social Care at Hampshire County Council) have now set up a page called LD Events at
They want to make this page the main hub for event info. Flyers are fine as they can upload the pdf and link to it.

To advertise your event on Connect to Support, please email the team at 

Obviously this will be a good place to start if you are looking for new activities or something to do one weekend.

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Phone: 07799 370043 Email: Registered Charity Number 263620 Affiliated to Royal MENCAP Society