A manager at Reading's Nationwide Building Society presents a giant cheque to a client of Reading Mencap and the charity's new Housing Adviser

New Housing Adviser thanks to funding from Nationwide   

  • Many adults with learning disabilities in Reading live in unsuitable housing or struggle to maintain their tenancies  
  • They often lack information about their rights and options, limiting their choices in housing  
  • Housing Adviser will provide one-to-one support  
  • Break down barriers clients face to living the lives they want  
  • Liaise with services, ensuring they understand the needs of people with learning disabilities  

Reading Mencap has received an award from Nationwide, as part of their Community Grants programme, to fund a specialist Housing Adviser.  

The Housing Adviser will provide one-to-one support to adults with learning disabilities and their families to prevent homelessness, resolve housing issues and help people move into new homes. The funding is for two years. 

In Reading, many of our clients are living in unsuitable housing that does not meet their needs or are struggling to maintain their tenancies.  

The Housing Adviser will visit individuals and families in their own homes and accompany them – as a supporter and advocate – to appointments, appeals and reviews with housing, social care, benefits agencies, landlords and the police, until the problem is resolved.  

An important element to this work will also be to ensure clients are informed of their options and rights and supported to claim their full entitlement to housing benefit.  

A home to call your own can transform lives

Mandi Smith, CEO of Reading Mencap, said having a safe, comfortable home to call your own can transform lives.  

She said: “We’re delighted to receive this award, which will allow us to provide personalised support to individuals and families in need and improve their housing situations.  

“With the right support, people with a learning disability and autism can find a place to call home by renting or buying in the same way as other people. When more support is needed, they can move into specialist housing, like shared lives or supported living.  

“While people often decide to continue to live with parents or other family members, the key point is, that like everyone else, adults with learning disabilities should be given a choice about where they live and who with.”   

£5.1 million awarded to housing projects

Britain’s biggest building society has run its Community Grants programme since 2017 – offering grants of up to £60,000 to local charities and projects, particularly those focussed on housing. This year, it’s awarded a total of £5.1 million to 105 housing related projects across the UK. 

Kirsty Hall, Social Investment Manager at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Helping local communities and charities is at the heart of what it means to be a building society for Nationwide. We are pleased our Community Grants programme is going to make a difference through this grant to Reading Mencap, helping them make a difference to the lives of those who rely on their services.”  

Over the last six years, Nationwide Building Society has awarded £27 million to housing charities up and down the UK, helping make the lives better for almost 148,800 people.