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The work of SHIEC has now ended and has undergone a full review and evaluation.
- Read the report here. It also contains useful resources in the Appendices.
The ‘Sustainable Hub of Innovative Employment for people with Complex Needs’ (SHIEC) project aimed to support genuine paid employment for people with learning disabilities who have additional complex needs. This included people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, those with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges, and people with learning disabilities and histories of mental health problems or offending behaviour. SHIEC was a hub of individuals and organisations in the South East who are working together to achieve this.
The project aimed to identify and support a range of employers to employ adults with learning disabilities and additional complex needs and to utilise existing employment support and pathways and make these work for everyone. A supportive network comprising of provider organisations, educational services, family carers, policy makers and academics meet on a regular basis to develop and share materials and to discuss progress, barriers and solutions regarding pathways to employment for people with complex needs.
- To date, SHIEC has worked with 36 people across the UK, all of whom now have completed vocational profiles. Of these, 7 people are in paid employment and 6 have engaged in voluntary placements.
- SHIEC used the learning from the project to develop materials and resources which can be used in future to ensure sustainability of the pathways to employment for people with complex needs.
The Medway Advocacy Project
The Medway Advocacy Project was a demonstration project exploring how effective advocacy can be offered to individuals with learning disabilities whose behaviour is described as challenging, as issues surrounding their support can be extremely complex. The Project provided advocates with specialist training and support to enable them to work effectively with these individuals.
The project paired advocates with adults with learning disabilities living in Kent and Medway. All were identified as potentially benefiting from advocacy support, as they faced major life changes. Their advocates supported them with a range of issues including:
- Moving to their own home
- Increased independence
- Accessing more community facilities
- Support and response to challenging behaviour
- Improved communication with support staff
The advocates involved in the project developed a rapport with the individuals and advocated for them on a long-term basis. This enabled them to understand the person, communicate with their family advocates and paid support teams, and speak on their behalf regarding complex and ongoing issues. The project demonstrated the value of this approach to independent advocacy, compared to short-term, issue specific advocacy.