Lancaster Avenue, London

Bought by Civitas two years ago, Lancaster Avenue is a specialist supported house, with 12 self-contained rooms each with their own bathroom, two of which have their own kitchens. The property is leased and maintained by Falcon Housing Association CIC and all residents sign a tenancy agreement. The Good Economy’s visit confirmed that Falcon are responding to the needs of the residents. They have recently installed new boilers and carpets.

The residents here are all women, ranging in age and level of support needs. All the residents have been diagnosed with either learning disabilities, mental health or autism – in some cases there are overlapping needs. Having previously been a learning disability centre, the property has been adapted to provide the appropriate support to residents. Certitude are the care provider and provide 24/7 support to residents in a tailored way. Certitude have been working across London since 1990 and currently support more than 1500 people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs, including the 12 women at Lancaster Avenue. Certitude and Falcon jointly liaise with Lambeth Council to ensure residents are supported with their moves into the property.

Certitude encourages their residents to build up independent life skills before ideally transitioning to more independent living. Having met with Angela, one of the support providers at the property, the personal nature of the support for residents was quickly understood. Certitude provide daily activities for residents in the communal living space on the ground floor in addition to the one on one support each resident receives, including practical advice on cooking, budgeting, cleaning, self-medicating and accessing the community.

"Specialist supported housing gives a sense of independence  and a chance to build skills. We are coming into their home to help them."

AngelaDeputy Manager

When visiting the property, it is clear that the residents are free to take ownership of the space. The support provider deliberately didn’t put unnecessary signs on the walls to make it feel like a home, rather than an institution. The residents frequently organise their own activities, for example Jade had organised a party for Halloween.

Resident story – Jade

Since being diagnosed with a complex mental health disorder a couple of years ago, Jade had been hospitalised before moving to SSH. Since moving into Lancaster Avenue in September 2018, Jade has settled in very quickly, and really enjoys the communal spaces of this property which she didn’t have in her previous home.

An example of how at home Jade feels is that she organised a Halloween party for all the residents; buying and displaying decorations throughout the house.

Jade studied archaeology at Durham university before becoming unwell, but still carries on her love of digging in the garden. She has recently volunteered at a garden centre in Streatham and hopes to help with the large garden at Lancaster Avenue.

While living at Lancaster Avenue, Certitude will monitor and assess Jade’s progress and feedback to her care coordinator. Where additional support is required like visits from a psychiatrist, it can be provided to her in her new home. But for now, it’s clear that Jade is enjoying the sense of community and life at Lancaster Avenue.

This case study has been anonymised to protect the individual’s identity.