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River Cottage, Consett

River Cottage in Consett, County Durham, providing personal care to young people with learning disabilities and autism was rated outstanding for being responsive and well-led following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), 5 & 9 December 2019.

It achieved the score of good for the safe, effective and caring categories.

The CQC report highlighted that staff had taken innovative steps to meet people's communication needs which had improved their ability to communicate and make choices.

For one person who didn't use words to communicate they were supported inclusively to use Makaton and symbols, and this was used imaginatively around the home.

One relative said, "It's the little things - but so much better they are doing things in the kitchen they couldn't do before because of the symbols."

Communication needs were met individually, and this had a positive impact on one person's life by minimising their frustration and anxiety.

One staff member told CQC inspectors, "I worked with [name] previously, I have seen a big improvement, they communicate much better now with the symbols, they will point and make choices - they couldn't before."

The service was an important part of the local community and had forged excellent links with organisations such as local college and Princes Trust to access sporting events at Newcastle United football club. This had a direct impact on improving people's well-being by getting people to engage who would previously withdraw from activities.

People were continually supported to be active citizens within their local community by using local services regularly. This included active volunteering roles, visiting social clubs, taking part in litter picks and recycling projects.

These all had a positive impact on helping to meet their personal goals.

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