Independent Living Project

Author(s): Jacintha Flynn

Department: Cope Foundation

Keywords: Independent living; Mild intellectual disability

(29 Jul 2009)
COPE Foundation produced a piece of research assessing the needs of former clients living in the community: ‘Needs and Future Service Requirements of former Cope Foundation Clients’ (Grant & McCluskey: 2000). 80 per cent of those interviewed expressed a desire to live independently yet 48 per cent of that 80 per cent thought they did not have the skills to do so. The Education Equality Initiative under the European Social Fund funded the Preparation for Independent Living Project from 2001-2003. The aim of the project was to equip adults with a mild intellectual disability with the skills to live independently. Evening classes were held in a rented house. Residential opportunities and outreach supports were also provided. The aim of the study is to review and evaluate through participant feedback project in order to identify the most effective parts of the programme. Twelve of the 13 projects participants said that their objectives were met and they would like the project to continue. The participants’ needs were varied and included employment, training, financial, housing, social and educational supports. The participants moved from home/hostel/digs into flats/shared housing/Bed & Breakfast. They also found new jobs, returned to training, and attended community literacy classes. The needs of adults with an intellectual disability living in the community are not recognised and met within mainstream or disability services. This project identified the groups’ needs and presents a model that begins to meet these needs. The policy implications are at a local and regional level regarding programme planning, involving partnership with voluntary and statutory disability services and the agencies providing education, training, employment and housing supports as outlined in the study.

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