Learning disabilities

If you are a carer of someone with a Learning Disability you have very likely been a parent carer and so have been caring for a long period of time, which frequently has had an impact on your sense of physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, social life, work, interests and relationships and it is understandable that at times you may feel exhausted or “at the end of your tether.” It is vital that as a carer you look after your mental and physical health in order to meet the support needs of the person you care for, but also for yourself. Devon Carer’s was set up to help you do this and in recent years we have extended our service and what we can offer.

Devon Carers can support carers of people with Learning Disabilities

Devon Carers can support carers of people with Learning Disabilities who are over 18 in several ways:

  • We can signpost you to other organisations such as Mencap or the Down’s syndrome Association, who can provide information and support on a variety of issues, including mental capacity information, wills, benefits and deputyship
  • We can provide information on local groups for the person you care for and how to ask for support from Adult Social Care.
  • We can also source further information in relation to your situation.
  • We can refer you for help with benefits or financial appeals.
  • Transition to Adult Services
  • Contingency Planning
  • Future Planning
  • Enabling Independence – both the practical and emotional side.

Parents Carers

If you are a parent carer and your child is under 18 you will receive your main support and carers assessment through Children’s Services and Education. However, you are still able to receive Universal services such as our alert cards and our quarterly magazine which is a good way to stay in touch and prepare for the transition of your young person into adulthood. Once your young person reaches 17 ½  you can call us and start the process of a asking for a carer assessment with us. Adult services for your child can not start until they are 18, but we can help in the transition period as we recognise this can be a difficult time.

Useful information and organisations

Abbey Gateway

Abbey Gateway Club

A club to support adults with a learning disability in the North Devon area.




Bis-net offers training in challenging behaviour for parents and carers as well as one to one training and support.


Brandon Trust

Brandon Trust

Brandon Trust is a UK charity working across Southern England supporting approximately 1,600 children and adults with learning disabilities and autism, ensuring people we support are connected in their community and wider society. They are also encouraging and equipping more people they support to live in their own homes; as well as ensuring that everyone with a learning disability has the right and the capacity to have their voice heard.


Camphill Devon

Camphill Devon

Camphill Devon provides accommodation and support to adults with a learning disability. They offer registered residential accommodation at Hapstead Village in a beautiful setting on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park. Supported living is also provided in the Teignbridge and South Hams area of Devon.


CEDA - Community Equality Disability Action


CEDA is an independent registered charity and not-for-profit company limited by guarantee which provides learning and social opportunities to disabled people in Devon. They run an activity hub, youth and community services as well as arts and culture.


The Challenging Behaviour Foundation

Challenging Behaviour Foundation

A charity for people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges, making a difference to the lives of children and adults across the UK through:

  • providing information about challenging behaviour
  • peer support groups for family carers and professionals
  • supporting families by phone or email
  • running workshops to reduce challenging behaviour
  • speaking up for families nationally / campaigning

Our vision is for anyone with severe learning disabilities who displays challenging behaviour to have the same life opportunities as everyone else.

We work to improve understanding of challenging behaviour, empower families with information and support, and help others to provide better services and more opportunities.

General Enquiries 01634 838739 / Family Support Line 0300 666 0126

DiAS - Devon Information Advice and Support

Devon Information Advice and Support Service

Provides children and young people from 0-25 who have special eduction needs or disabilities, and their parents and carers, with legally based and easy accessible information about education, health and social care. This is a free confidential and impartial service.


Devon Link Up

Devon Link-Up

Devon Link Up is an independent service user led charity for people who have learning disabilities and / or Autism. Our aim is to give people a voice and choice about the things that are important in their lives. They run speaking up groups across Devon and are involved in many events and projects including Blue Light Day and the Learning Disability Partnership Board.

Call 01404 41235
Visit https://www.devonlink-up.org/ 

Devon Partnership Trust

Devon Partnership Trust – Learning Disability Team

NHS services for adults with learning disabilities. Nurses can offer support with hospital appointments, investigations and stays in hospital as well as information on annual health checks and other health concerns.


Downs Syndrome Association

Down’s Syndrome Association

Down’s Syndrome Association provide information, support, the latest research and news for people with Down’s syndrome, their families and carers as well as professionals. There is a wealth of information on their website as well as many other services. They have a store of downloadable information sheets and recommendations. Their main office is in London, but they also have an office in Devon based in Hannahs at Seal Hayne, outside Newton Abbot and run training days for parents and professionals.

Call 0333 1212 300
Visit https://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/



Dream-a-Way are an Exeter based charity helping to make dreams come true for Devon’s children and adults with disabilities or life affecting health conditions. Currently they have helped nearly 3,000 people – more than 400 enjoy wonderful days out, over 1200 guests enjoyed the beautiful Devon seaside in one of their luxury caravans at Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, Sandy Bay near Exmouth and more than 100 people each year experienced their Dream Holiday.



IPSEA – Independent Provider of Special Education Advice

IPSEA is a charity that offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities.


Leap Of Faith Adventures

Leap of Faith Adventures offers a range of outdoor adventure for all abilities. We can tailor our activities to meet the needs of each group or individual. We are based in Exeter, Devon and currently provide activities such as caving, climbing, archery, bushcraft, canoeing/kayaking and walking/expeditions. We can work on a 1:1 basis or with small groups and can travel within the South West if required.


Life Works

Life Works is for children and adults with Learning Disabilities. The charity delivers a wide range of programmes and services including residential and respite care, further education at Life Works College, life skills training, youth clubs, community projects, sport and leisure events.

Call 01803 840744
Visit https://lifeworks-uk.org 


Made-Well is a not for profit community interest company, based at West Fishleigh Farm in Hatherleigh.
The service provides a range of constructive, purposeful and positive ‘day opportunities’ for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental ill health diagnosis. Made-Well is an inclusive service with the ethos of actively encouraging full participation irrespective of age, background, qualifications, training or ability.
We support people to enjoy, experience and learn about horticulture, cookery, animal care, therapeutic arts, countryside management and much more. We run an extensive range of sessions which are designed to offer people a wide choice of meaningful activities.

Call 01837 810584
Visit www.made-well.co.uk


Mencap provide advice and support including: Learning Disability explained, services, health, relationships, children and young people, social care, housing, benefits and local groups. They also provide an online community ‘HealthUnlocked’ where you can find lots of helpful posts and discussions.


Next Steps

A group for parents and carers of adults with learning disabilities based in Ivybridge.

Please contact Jan McArthur – jan.mcarthur1@btinternet.com
Call 07742 609968

New Key

New Key provides support to people living in supported living accommodation in Torquay, Totnes and Kingskerswell. People who use the service include those with with physical disabilities, autism or learning difficulties. They help people to live independently and assist them to live the lives they want. They support people to achieve outcomes in managing their own money, making friendships, finding work, managing their home, finding and attending local groups, exercising and cooking skills.


North Devon Family Carers

A group set up by parents offering support and advice in regular meetings for carers of people with learning disabilities.

Please contact Ann Deadman for more information: aldeadman@btinternet.com

Ready Devon

Jobcentre Plus offers free bespoke advice about how to attract, recruit and retain disabled people, the support on offer, and the benefits of becoming Disability Confident.

Being Disability Confident lets everyone know that you’re positively changing attitudes towards employing disabled people.

Jobcentre plus offers recruitment and help in work for employers, highlighting the positives of employing people with Learning Disabilities.


Shared Lives South West

Shared Lives South West

Shared lives South West is an award winning charity that delivers long term and short break care services throughout Devon and Cornwall. We provide care and support and are an alternative to supported living and residential care.

Established in 2004, we are a highly regarded care provider, rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. We have a very strong reputation in the Shared Lives sector for quality, innovation and person-centred approaches.

We specialise in supporting people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health problems, dementia and older people. People who use our services live or have a break in the home of one our approved carers. It’s similar to adult fostering and is a great alternative to supported living or residential care.

There are short videos on the website that will give you more idea of what the services are about. Look under the “services” button near the top of the web page.

Call 01626 360170
Visit https://www.sharedlivessw.org.uk/

Soundwaves Music Project

Soundwaves Music Project

Soundwaves works with people with and without learning difficulties to make music, have fun and through a creative process build our skills and confidence. Two groups run in the week on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. Their sessions are two hours long and can be noisy, energised or quiet and reflective.

Saturdays are fun filled, with a large group of people all taking part in various music activities. There is always singing, often dancing and regular song-writing activities. The Tuesday Group is a much quieter group and is called our ‘Chill out’ group. Suitable for people who do not like big gatherings and take splace Saturdays evenings 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

Soundwaves Facebook Page

The Northam Care Trust

The Northam Care Trust

Offers person centred support to individuals with learning and physical disabilities. They also support older people and individuals with dementia. Based in Bideford, they provide residential and day opportunities where excellent communication, respect and a set of values and behaviours underpin their work. They work with and support carers through co-production. Excellence, personalisation and engagement are at the very core of what they do.

Call 01237 477238
Visit www.northamcaretrust.co.uk

The Plough Arts Centre

The Plough Prism

An exciting weekly drama workshop for adults with disabilities at The Plough Arts Centre. Supported by The Clare Milne Trust. £3.50 per participant


The Rowell Centre

The Rowell Centre

An enabling service for adults with learning disabilities based in Crediton. Their aim is to support people with learning disabilities to access the community and provide them with a range of their chosen activities. They also support them with independence living skills.

Here are some of the activities they can support with:

  • Keeping Safe
  • Road Safety
  • Cooking
  • Leisure Centre access
  • Skittles and Boccia
  • Using Public Transport
  • Trips out
  • Internet Access
  • iPad and computers
  • Shopping
  • Socialising
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Eating
  • Communication skills
  • Art and Craft
  • Independence
  • Advocacy and lots more!

Call 07519 720647
Email therowellcentre@hotmail.com
Visit http://www.therowellcentre.co.uk/

The Turning Tides Project

The Turning Tides Project

The Turning Tides Project believes that everyone has the right to equal access to music, the arts and life. They intend to make this right a reality for people with learning disability or autism in Devon. They run an enabling service (EPIC), Accessible Communication (Small Talk), training , projects, sessions, performances, Crediton Station Tea Rooms and gardening services.

Call 01363 772572
Visit http://www.theturningtidesproject.org.uk/

United Response

United Response

Support people with disabilities throughout Devon since 1990, including Torbay, South Hams, Teignbridge, Exeter, Exmouth and Honiton.
They provide person-centred care, with a focus on listening and communicating carefully with the people they support and working with their families.

They offer:

  • Residential care
  • Supported Living
  • Education via Roc’s Life Skills College
  • Employment and Housing support
  • Resources and an nenewsletter
  • Friendship groups

Call 020 8246 5200
Email info@unitedresponse.org.uk 
Visit www.unitedresponse.org.uk