You may not know but nestled in Lowestoft is the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Waveney Adult Community Learning Disability Team.
The dedicated team offer services to adults over the age of 25 with a learning disability. They work alongside the Learning Disability Youth and Children Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service ensuring effective transitions for individuals approaching 25 and who also need their service. Currently 160 people are open to the service.
The small team of 15 provide a pivotal role in supporting the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities and their families, and work in close collaboration with health system partners, community providers and colleagues in other teams within NSFT. Many of those referred have coexisting mental health issues, physical health conditions, substance-misuse and social care needs, as well as needs relating to their learning disability.
The team supports those people to engage with their community to live an active and fulfilled life. They help people to overcome barriers by providing confidence building, anxiety management, overcoming trauma, new skills, information and education.
The team works with individuals registered with a GP in the Waveney area of Suffolk which stretches from Hopton-on-Sea in the North to Southwold in the South, including Beccles and Bungay. They currently offer contact using a mix of online and face to face methods seeing people both at their Lowestoft base and in the community.
Commissioned to work alongside GP practices the team ensures reasonable adjustments are made for service users so they are able to receive improved physical health care.
Their successes include how they make a positive difference to the lives of those they support, community participation, reduction of inpatient admissions and improvements in health and wellbeing.
The service-user focused also held therapeutic groups in the community, including the local library, but much of this support needed to move to online due to the pandemic until recently. Now they’re beginning to engage in the groups again with their service-user walking group restarting and a gardening project coming soon.
Another success was their work with LGBTQ+ populations and people with a learning disability. This work gained local recognition as well as attracting attention and support from Universities.