A new supported living scheme for adults with a learning disability and or autism has opened in Dorchester, which is designed to play a key role in enabling people to live with greater independence.

The specialist accommodation, in Dorchester’s Prince of Wales Road, includes 16 units – 12 flats over three stories and four bungalows – and has been developed by Specialist Supported Housing Ltd.

Elizabeth Court meets the NHS England Autism standards for accommodation. This includes additional space in shower rooms and doorways to enable wheelchair access and an internal environment that reduces the risk of hazards to residents and minimises potential damage to property.

Each flat has a bedroom and living/dining room with a kitchen with some providing space for in-house care support.

The site is positioned close to local amenities in the county town and will be managed by Agincare Enable, who bring specialist knowledge of people with a learning disability, autistic spectrum condition and physical disability. Inclusion Housing CIC will be the specialist landlord to the tenants – a national registered provider with a focus on specialised supported housing.

It is the council’s most significant supported living scheme since the 18-bedroom apartments for people with a range of learning disabilities was opened at Fox Court in Sturminster Newton three years ago. It supports the council’s accommodation with care and support commissioning strategy, “A Better Life for Adults in Dorset.”

Councillor Jane Somper, Cabinet Portfolio lead for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, welcomed the new development. “I am very excited about this valuable new supported living base in Dorchester which will provide people with autism and/or a learning disability with the care and support they need to move into independent living.

“It is impressive to have this specialist accommodation for local people, enabling them to access a range of services across our county town and empowering them to build confidence, make new friendships and connect with the community,” she added.

Agincare Enable Managing Director Sarnjeet Banwait said: “Agincare is delighted to work in partnership with Dorset Council and all partners to bring our expertise and experience to Elizabeth Court in Prince of Wales Road. We are a Dorset-based care provider which makes this new provision, to continue to support people to live as independently as possible in the local community, even more exciting.”

Inclusion Housing’s Operators Director Michelle Dodgson said: “We look forward to welcoming our tenants into their new homes at Elizabeth Court and working in partnership with Dorset Council and Agincare to make the service a success.”