Noble Grange is a specialist learning disability home to re-enable up to seven people on the autistic spectrum with associated complex needs. They may have additional mental health problems and behaviours that challenge other services. The three groundfloor ensuite bedrooms offer full wheel-chair access
This unique, award winning, service has been custom designed in conjunction with specialist autism and learning disability architects. We have ensured that specific design considerations that influence not just the mood and behaviour of people with autism but also their carers, and support staff have been incorporated into the design. The environment incorporates features such as curved walls, circulation spaces, autism sensitive colour schemes, and low arousal lighting to create a supportive therapeutic environment for the people who live there.
We have had many enquiries about the design, technology and support arrangements. So here is some information about the development and our thinking.
We began discussions with NHS Warwickshire about their need for a specialist autism service in 2012. The joint NobleCare and NHS Warwickshire team considered whether existing NHS sites could be re-configured for the purpose or if other existing properties could be modernised or extended to provide the right accommodation. After several months it was decided that for the people who would use the service, a purpose built, custom designed premises would be the best way forward.
We spent many months looking for the right site. One was rejected because it was too near a main road and would be disruptive for people with autism, another because it was too far away from community facilities. Eventually we found the ideal site, close to community facilities, yet set back from the street, to create a calm environment that was in the middle of the community from which the people living there come. Previously the site had housed the Arbury Tavern but that had closed in 2007 and it was now a vacant site.
Some of the individuals that live at Noble Grange may need this specialist environment for some time. However, through the use of specific enablement strategies we anticipate that the majority will be able to consider a move to more mainstream accommodation relatively quickly.
The impetus for the development of a combination of bedrooms and studios within the same building is our approach to enablement. We have incorporated four studios into the design as research shows if people with learning disabilities are given more control and more personalised support it results in improvements in their quality of life and in their behaviour. We anticipate that people living on the ground floor in their large ensuite rooms will be able to transition to the flats upstairs as they develop their skills. Individuals will be able to build upon the skills they learn to achieve further independence, self-advocacy and confidence leading to higher quality of life.
This small specialist home for adults with autism is an example of how local commissioners can work with a local provider to improve the quality of life for individuals who previously might have had to live far away from home, or spend longer than necessary in assessment and treatment units and hospitals.