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Family Support Service

Our outreach and home visiting Family Support Service provides free information, advice and practical support for people with learning disabilities and their families.

Our Family Advisers:

  • Are experienced and qualified professionals in learning disabilities and autism best service
  • Have expert knowledge of the law and guidance governing services for people with disabilities
  • Have experience across Reading Borough Council’s Children’s and Adult Services.

The team can provide information, advice and casework around:

  • Health and social care including care assessments, care planning and appealing charges for care
  • Housing, benefits and legal issues
  • Reporting hate crime and harassment
  • Managing debt
  • Leisure, social activities and respite.

Our Family Advisers can also:

  • Accompany and support individuals and families at appointments, appeals, reviews and court hearings
  • Help to fill out forms
  • Be a listening ear when you need help.

You can contact the Family Support Team by calling 0118 966 2518 between 9.30am and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. An answerphone is available at other times, please leave a message. You can also make a referral using our Referral Form.

Impact of the Family Support Team

The majority of people contacting the Family Support Team needed support with social care. Family Advisers supported clients to present their needs through Social Care Assessments and Reviews; with care provision and planning; and in the Financial Assessment process. Using the Care Act, the Family Advisers worked with statutory services to highlight issues with delivery of care and failures to meet needs.

Between February and March 2023, 31 clients with learning disabilities and family carers gave detailed feedback about their experience of using the Family Support Service.

  • 29 respondents said they have a better understanding of their options and rights
  • 30 respondents rated the quality of support they received as ‘excellent’ (26) or ‘good’ (4)
  • 90% said they feel more positive
  • 77% said they feel less anxious or worried
  • 77% said they feel more connected to services and sources of support.

What difference does the Family Support Service make?

Clients found the support from Reading Mencap to be helpful and to have made a significant difference to their lives. They appreciate having a Family Adviser to turn to and feel less lonely as a result of the support they have received.

The emotional support and advice provided by Reading Mencap staff has been described as knowledgeable, positive and confidence-building. Additionally, many clients mentioned specific ways in which Reading Mencap helped them, such as with moving home, speaking with social workers and understanding the care system.

Overall, the feedback suggests the support provided by Reading Mencap has been greatly appreciated and has had a positive impact on the clients’ lives.

Read the full Family Support Service Impact Report.

Transition Service

Our Transition Service supports young people aged 16 – 25 with learning disabilities and their families prepare for adulthood.

For more information about the service, please visit our Transition Service page.

What people say about the Family Support Team:

‘My Family Adviser gets me the results I need and keeps going until I get the right support. She has helped me with everything from writing letters, contacting professionals, agency support and emotional support. I don’t know where I would be without her.’

‘Our Family Adviser has been fabulous. She has supported our son and us through such a difficult time and has not given up on anything. She has liaised with social workers, the SEN team and helped to write the ECHP and spoken to them non-stop about getting a college place. This was finally agreed yesterday after months of trying to get this agreed through panel. We honestly can’t thank her enough and can’t put into words how grateful we are.’

‘The quality of service I have received from my Family Adviser is second to none. I’m not aware of any other organisations who can give this level of support’

“My Family Adviser been a brilliant emotional support to me during really, really difficult times. She made calls to the council about Direct Payments and contributions and really helped me understand things so much better.

We are delighted to have been awarded a National Lottery Community Fund award to support our Family Support Service.