Healthcare Technology Featured Article

August 22, 2023

Achieve together's Wheel of Engagement Podcast: Integrating People With Additional Needs Into the Community

Achieve together is a leading UK support provider that empowers individuals with learning disabilities, autism, deafness and associated complex needs. More than 2,300 people across England and Wales benefit from the high-quality support Achieve together’s homes and services provide.

To help amplify the voices of those it supports, Achieve together has launched the Wheel of Engagement podcast. The most recent episode of the podcast discusses the importance of helping people with additional needs get involved in the community. The episode also examines the barriers they may face.

About The Wheel of Engagement Podcast

The Wheel of Engagement podcast started in October 2022. Each episode of the podcast explores a different theme from the Wheel of Engagement framework. Achieve together uses this person-centred, holistic and co-production-focused framework to support adults with learning disabilities and autism.

How Achieve together Care Homes Empower Residents and Celebrate Staff

The Wheel of Engagement

The Wheel of Engagement prioritises providing support in all areas to ensure individuals enjoy a high-quality, meaningful, fulfilling life. The wheel encompasses factors such as:

  • Physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
  • Personal safety.
  • Family, friendships and sexuality.
  • Employment and education.
  • Hobbies and interests.
  • Daily living skills.
  • Being part of the community.

The Wheel of Engagement also employs the SPELL principles. SPELL stands for:

  • Structure.
  • Positive approaches and expectations.
  • Empathy.
  • Low arousal.
  • Links.

Using these principles, Achieve together ensures a structured approach to support. This approach pays attention to an individual’s environment and the quality of their relationships and rapport with the organisation’s team members.

Co-Production and Self-Advocacy

Achieve together presents the Wheel of Engagement podcast in collaboration with two parties. The first is the co-production group Unity, and the second comprises of autistic people and/or individuals with learning disabilities who are part of the self-advocacy group Campaign 4 Change, both whose members are supported by Achieve together.

Co-production refers to a collaborative approach where individuals with additional needs and support providers work together to develop and deliver services. Co-production recognises the expertise and lived experiences of those with additional needs. The approach emphasises active involvement, mutual respect, and shared responsibility.

Achieve together believes that co-production is crucial. This is why the organisation encourages people it supports to take part in co-production when opportunities arise. Achieve together’s team members and people they support act as equal partners in making important support-related decisions.

Achieve together also understands the importance of self-advocacy. The organisation works with Campaign 4 Change to empower enthusiastic, motivated individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism. The goal is to help these individuals amplify their voices and raise awareness of the issues that matter to them, including:

  • Accessibility for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
  • Challenging outdated labels and the use of disrespectful language.
  • Trans rights.

Discussing The Importance of Integrating With Community

Released on July 3, 2023, the ninth episode of the Wheel of Engagement podcast focuses on the topic of integrating with the local and wider community.

Autistic people and people with learning disabilities should be fully embraced as integral members of their community. Full integration goes beyond simply living in a community. It involves actively contributing to that community and feeling meaningfully engaged, acknowledged, and respected.

A group of eight individuals, comprising Achieve together team members and members of Unity and Campaign 4 Change, took part in the podcast discussion. The group discussed several questions, including:

  • Are you part of any community groups?
  • Are there any barriers to being part of your local community?
  • How are you supported to be a supported member of your community?
  • How have you helped other people in your community?

Community Groups

The podcast discussion covered a range of community groups and activities, from getting involved in physical exercise and meeting different people to raising money for charity.

One of the community groups mentioned was Speak Out Brighton HYPERLINK ""&HYPERLINK "" Hove. Operating since 1994, the independent advocacy group supports people with learning disabilities to help them make their voices heard.

The group also touched on Stay Up Late, a charity that campaigns for people’s right to go out and stay up as long as they want to. Stay Up Late also campaigns against rigid staff schedules, which often mean individuals who receive support lack opportunities to go out at night like many other adults do.

Fiifi Tetteh, a member of Campaign 4 Change and a Stay Up Late ambassador, organises a regular pool knock-out competition that lasts until midnight to raise awareness of the issue.

Barriers To Being Part of the Local Community

People with additional needs can sometimes face barriers to accessing and becoming part of their local community. The podcast episode discussed barriers such as:

  • A lack of support from staff or a lack of staff in general.
  • A lack of communication and planning.
  • Services within the community not making reasonable adjustments, such as autism-friendly cinema experiences.
  • A lack of accessible spaces in the community, such as suitable changing areas and public toilets.
  • Poor public transport in rural areas.
  • Time or location restrictions on rail or bus passes.
  •  A lack of awareness amongst members of the public around the needs of people with learning disabilities and autism, including hidden disabilities.

Achieve together Homes: Supporting People Access the Community

Many people who Achieve together support live in the organisation’s homes for adults. Achieve together homes provide around-the-clock specialist support and facilities. Achieve together homes also offer a range of activities to give individuals and their loved ones the opportunity to enjoy new experiences.

The team members at Achieve together care homes go above and beyond in supporting individuals become active members of their local community. Community access can enrich the lives of those the organisation supports in various ways. Those living in Achieve together care homes may wish to visit a nearby restaurant, join a club or take part in educational opportunities.

Learn more about Achieve together’s residential care and supported living homes.

About Achieve together

Achieve together is one of the foremost providers of specialised support for individuals with learning disabilities, autism and associated complex needs in the UK.

The organisation empowers those under its care and support, enabling them to lead happy, healthy, and meaningful lives. Achieve together accomplishes this by fostering individuals’ essential life skills, promoting healthy relationships, and boosting self-esteem and confidence.

With more than 25 years of experience and valuable insights, Achieve together excels in delivering high-quality care and support. Its team consists of more than 6,000 compassionate, dedicated members. These team members prioritise the people they support and their families and place them at the core of all their endeavours.

Achieve together continues to lead by example and drive quality and excellence in the social care sector.

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