A team which offers care and support to those with autism have been championed through a national accolade.
The council’s Hartlepool Day Services team – which is based at the Centre for Independent Living in Havelock Street - has been given accreditation by the National Autistic Society (NAS) following a rigorous two-day inspection.
I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the staff who have made this achievement possible.Councillor Stephen Thomas
The NAS carries out inspections every three years and this is the third time Hartlepool Borough Council has received the title.
The assessors observed activities, looked at policies and procedures and talked to staff including Laura Reeve and Nicola Dale, who are community workers based within Hartlepool Day Services and are also trained autism champions.
They also spoke to autistic people who use the services, their families and professionals.
The NAS said it was particularly impressed by a number of areas of strength including:
• The well-established staff team, meaning that staff know the people they support very well and are able to adjust to their needs and pick up on signs that they are happy or unsettled;
• The service’s new purpose-built location, which offers spaces for various activities and was planned with the involvement of those who use it;
• The service regularly and actively engages with the local community through a range of activities, celebrations and exhibitions which are open to the public.
The inspectors’ report said: “It was clear that the whole staff team are motivated and keen to provide the best service possible. “They work together well, with managers still involved in day-to-day care and support.
“Staff were consistently seen to interact in a positive, encouraging and person-centred way.”
Coun Stephen Thomas, chairman of the council’s Adult Services Committee, said: “The Centre for Independent Living is a massive investment by the council in providing services for people living with various disabilities in our town.
“It’s really important that the services we provide from the building are of the best possible standard and are accessible to everyone who needs to use them.
“I am therefore delighted that Hartlepool Day Services have once again received this accreditation.
“It means that the people with autism who use these services, and their families, know that they are going to receive excellent service and that the staff are fully aware of their needs.
“I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the staff who have made this achievement possible.”