As a society, we used to care for vulnerable people in the communities and neighbourhoods in which they grew up, where they were a familiar face… a part of normal, everyday life.
But for the past century, many physically and mentally disabled individuals were often removed from their communities and placed in medical institutions, where they were sheltered “for their own good.” The knock down effect was that, for generations, vulnerable people were erroneously perceived as not “normal” nor of having anything of value to contribute to society. And although social care models have changed significantly in the past decade, these changes still include barriers that impede true progress. What is exciting at the moment is breaking out of those barriers that have been artificially created.
Supported people are often “parachuted” into communities, placed in homes on either the fringes of a town or in areas that did not allow them to become a visible, active, and contributing member of the community. ubu has worked hard to smash this with the uStep model, by getting the vulnerable people back into their communities, and back into the “collective mix” of a vibrant and diverse society. Commissioners are now looking for innovative ways to support a wide range of people across the spectrum of care. What has become obvious to us at ubu is that it pays to be bold, to push ourselves and commissioners into new ways of thinking about how we set up communities, not just houses.
At ubu we will continue to strive for real and meaningful solutions to obstacles that stand in the way of customer- centric services by leading and driving change, creating communities with our consumers at the centre. We have a contribution to make beyond the short term creation of care jobs and providing accommodation. It means making these communities a magnet for opportunity, an attractive example of how development that includes supported people can and does benefit everyone. An example of this is our new uStep services in Wigan and Manchester.