Active SUPPORT – The Way Forward

ROC Boscawen Farm is a 45 acre farm, operating just outside Truro in Cornwall supporting adults with a learning disability. ROC itself has a number of residential, supported living and work and wellbeing services. ROC Boscawen Farm was chosen alongside one other ROC service to adopt the Active Support method.

Active Support was chosen as an approach to supporting people at ROC – Boscawen Farm to ensure that they are given the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life; to provide a platform to expand their experiences with a view to strengthening their chances of having the necessary skills to gain employment.

Also, linking Active Support to accredited learning through micro teaching sessions to allow everybody who accesses ROC – Boscawen Farm the opportunity of gaining the qualifications.

The Journey

We arranged to train the complete staff team at Boscawen Farm in one group, therefore drafting in relief bank staff from our Devon Services and we all received the Active Support training at the Farm. Initially one could here staff comments saying “Isn’t this what we do already”? Or “How much more paperwork are they going to burden us with”? I remained positive the whole way through the training sessions keeping a consistent approach to the staff team.

Throughout the course of the training program these comments were becoming “Oh I see – well that would work with this person to overcome their behaviours”. I knew at this point the staff team were starting to understand and appreciate what Active Support could do for the people we support.

Active Support  was a quick and effective reporting system which provided management with a precise tool for measuring the depth of outcome

Through effective planning a scheme of work was produced, based on the Active Support paperwork but combining this with the person’s person-centred plan and review literature was a quick and effective reporting system which provided management with a precise tool for measuring the depth of outcome which was able to be communicated in a definitive manner to commissioners and circles of support.

Once Active Support was embedded into the service which I manage you could clearly see a clear change in the way a support worker approached and delivered their support. I noticed a clear consistent approach to the structure and their technique which clearly provided the person which they were/are supporting a far more meaningful support package. The value of Active Support has only been strengthened within the service by reports and observations carried out by Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Teams and Social Workers the change and reduction in behaviours which are challenging by the people which we are supporting. Once this reduction has been achieved; we have substituted accredited learning in to the person’s day allowing everybody the opportunity to gain a qualification.

Active Support directly contributes to learning as progression and achievement works hand in hand together. The reduction in support through Active Support directly relates to the increasing scores needed to grade the learning progress.

As a service I no longer see a support worker carrying out a task with a group of people observing and I now clearly see a support worker supporting someone through a transition of reducing support to allow the person to independently achieve a personal goal.

No longer a hotel model, now a service to discover independence!

Paul Deakin,
Manager, Boscawen Farm