New children's services in the North East


 A disabled child in a wheelchair making eye contact with a special needs carer

At Livability we are excited to announce the launch of our children’s social care and support service

From October 2023, this will improve the lives of children and young people with disabilities. Initially working with 5 -11 year olds in the North East, we will focus on children with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs.

We have chosen the North East in response to local authority commissioners’ unmet needs. Livability will provide creative and flexible support services, working to local authority budgets.

Addressing an unmet need

At a national level, children’s social care services are struggling to meet the needs of vulnerable children and young people. Since the Covid pandemic, there has been a significant increase in children who:

  • Seek mental health support
  • Live in poverty
  • Experience abuse and neglect
  • Enter the care system

Livability offers early and preventative interventions. This avoids crisis points and equips families to flourish. Our goal is to reduce reliance on local authority services and to save public funds in the longer term.

The need for this service in the North East is significant. Sixteen percent (16%) of children and young people in the Newcastle & Gateshead population have special education needs or a disability; this equates to about 11,000 children.

What does the service provision look like?

Step 1: Short breaks provision
By the end of 2023, Livability will offer short break support to children and young people with learning and physical disabilities. We work with children in their home or community context, helping with daily routines and activities and increasing independence.
Support with housework will also be available for parents or carers to increase the amount of time they can spend with their children. This support eases pressure on families, reducing the need for further support or crisis intervention.

Local authorities will fund support packages or short breaks for individual children; larger support packages may be funded by health authorities (Integrated Care Boards). Livability will also work with solicitors and case managers where children currently pay privately.

Step 2: Day centre provision

From the summer of 2024 Livability will offer:

  • Holiday clubs for children with disabilities
  • Wraparound care e.g., after-school clubs
  • Evening and weekend youth clubs
  • Parent and carer support groups

Step 3: Overnight and residential services
By the end of 2025, Livability will offer overnight respite services with the eventual goal of opening a residential children’s care home. This provision will then be rolled out beyond the North East.

We are looking to start out of school clubs for children with disabilities in North East. We plan to work in partnership with specialist schools to be able to offer children with disabilities and their parents excellent and accessible holiday childcare.