In Scotland, UK, deinstitutionalization has been a policy objective, at least since the 1990s, when a ‘care in the community’ policy was introduced. It was within this context the charity Carr Gomm Scotland was established, in 1998, with the main aim of supporting people with disabilities who had been housed in institutions to live safely and well in their own homes. Since that time, the charity has grown to become one of Scotland’s leading social care and community development charities which continues, amongst other responsibilities, to play a key role in supporting people who live with mental, physical, or psychosocial disabilities through the deinstitutionalization process.
Carr Gomm supports people in a variety of ways through this process, for example providing one-to-one emotional and practical support to people in their own homes who have recently been discharged from mental health hospitals; supporting people who have severe and enduring mental illness in shared accommodation; providing ‘link workers’ at doctor’s surgeries to help build links with local community groups and services. Whatever the circumstances, the focus is on providing person-centered support that is led by the person’s own wishes and needs.
Carr Gomm was originally inspired by the work of the maverick philanthropist Richard Carr Gomm who was determined to make a difference to society and fight inequality. Carr Gomm continues to strive to be a progressive and ground-breaking organization, continuously seeking to improve people’s lives and wellbeing. As part of this journey Carr Gomm recently established an International Collaborations project which aims to learn from and share with the rest of the world. Carr Gomm welcomes opportunities to join global conversations, exchange knowledge and forge international partnerships with organizations that share similar values.
Following the UN’s recent guidelines on deinstitutionalization we welcomed the opportunity to join that conversation and invited staff to contribute to the TCI (Transforming Communities for Inclusion) campaign; staff members Luis and Jillian kindly shared their thoughts and experiences in the following submissions.
Carr Gomm is a social care and community development charity based in Scotland. Established in 1998, it aimed to support people with disabilities to live safely and well in their communities and their homes. Their goal as stated in their Strategic plan 2021-2024 is ‘to enable people to live safely and to do the thigs they want to do in life. This includes helping with day to day living, planning for the future and in realizing their dreams. We do this by providing support in people’s homes and communities, delivered by trained and committed staff.’ They have projects and activities throughout Scotland and work in partnership with the local councils. Their model is based on traditional ways of care giving by building on and utilizing connections, interdependence with values of ‘choice, control, openness and honesty, interdependence, respect, compassion and kindness’ kept at the centre of a person centred approach. Along with supporting persons with disabilities or various vulnerabilities in their own homes, they also have supported living services for persons with disabilities, psychosocial disabilities, learning disabilities, complex needs, older people, autism spectrum disorder and physical disabilities. They offer a pathway to deinstitutionalization by providing a space for persons who were institutionalized to find sanctuary and support on their own terms and choices before they wish to live in communities.