Building Bridges

Authors: Ashleigh Fox and Chris Watson

Far too many people with autism, intellectual disabilities or mental health problems are stuck in institutional care services. This problem is caused both by the ongoing failure to invest in preventative support and the practical difficulties of helping people leave quickly and safely. Bridging Support is one very practical and efficient approach which can help people regain their citizenship and start to claim back their lives.

The authors have written this paper to draw attention to Bridging Support, an effective, but still too rarely used solution for getting people out of Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) (usually hospital units).

Ashleigh Fox works for LD Network, whose work this paper describes. Ashleigh led the development of the Bridging Support model which was developed from her own personal experiences as a Learning Disabilities Nurse providing support to people in order to avoid crisis escalating and the subsequent use of institutional care settings. Ashleigh was also the whistleblower who raised the initial alarm at Winterbourne View where she worked at the very start of her career.

Chris Watson leads Self Directed Futures and leads work on self-directed support for Citizen Network, a global non-profit cooperative. Chris identified the work of LD Network as one of the missing ingredients in the strategy to close ATUs and to effectively support people as full citizens in their community.

The authors hope that more commissioners will adopt this ethical, pragmatic and effective approach which can help end the scandal of ATU admissions and ultimately bring this system to an end.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser, link below.

The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Building Bridges © Ashleigh Fox and Chris Watson 2021.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.


Paper | 07.10.21

Individual Service Funds, intellectual disabilities, Self-Directed Support, social care, England, Paper

Ashleigh Fox


RNLD and Director of Transforming Care - LD Network

Chris Watson


Founder of Self Directed Futures

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