Members visited the Camphill Community, located in Glencraig North Down which provides accommodation as well as work and educational programmes to people with learning difficulties. Residents at the Camphill Community have the opportunity to work in the biodynamic farm and garden and also in various craft and services workshops. The Social Development Committee met with residents to find out how living and working in this type of scheme gives them opportunities for both independent and communal living.
After the visit to Camphill, the Committee travelled to Loughview Fold in Holywood, which provides accommodation for and promotes independent living for older people. Residents told MLAs how the Fold offers just the right balance of care and support while allowing them to live independent and fulfilling lives.
We caught up with Committee Chairperson Alex Maskey MLA to find out more: “There is currently
a lot of concern among a number of housing associations about the withdrawal of SNMA. The Committee heard today that this would seriously undermine the ability of these associations to continue providing services which promote independent living for residents.
“On the other hand the Department has made it very clear that SNMA funding will be incorporated into the Supporting People budget so this is not about cost savings; rather we are told it is to ensure that funds are spent properly in respect of their intended use.
“It is our job as a Committee to scrutinise the work of the Department and as such it is very important that we take every opportunity to hear from as many groups and individuals as possible about how any changes to the current funding structure could affect their day to day lives.
“The Committee was impressed by both Camphill Community and Loughview Fold. It was interesting and inspiring to meet with residents, their carers and their families and hear about their personal experiences.
“We will be meeting with the Department over the coming weeks to continue discussions on this issue; keeping the provision of services which enable people to live fuller and more independent lives at the forefront of our consideration.”