WHO WE ARE
WILL is a user/family-led independent company and registered charity, which
develops supported living arrangements for people with learning disabilities within
the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral.
WILL started as a company in 1999, after a group of parents whose children all had
learning disabilities began meeting, with support and encouragement from Irene
Kennedy, the former headteacher of Foxfield Special School. This group shared a
common concern: what did the future hold for their sons and daughters, once they
left school and became adults? What were the chances of getting the support they
needed to live “ordinary lives”, in ways that would enable them to live as
independently as possible within their local community? And how could we make
sure that they were treated and valued as individuals, rather than having to be part of
traditional residential and day services which catered for groups of people with
Our thinking was shaped by the ideas and experiences of other groups and
organisations in the North West who were seeking better services for people with
disabilities. We found that these groups saw the need for true Person Centred
Planning when trying to understand what is most important for each individual, in
order to develop the right kind of support. They also helped us to see that people
with disabilities can be tenants in ordinary housing and do not have to live in
residential or “special” accommodation to meet their needs.
In the year 2000, WILL was successful in its bid for initial Lottery funding, so that we
could appoint a Development Worker and set up a small office. Then in May 2001,
WILL started supporting its first person – an “outreach” service for a few hours a
week, funded by Independent Living Fund monies. Five years later, two people were
supported by WILL to move into their own home. Since then, more adults with
learning disabilities have been able to fund their own support by Direct Payments or
Personal Budgets, so that WILL now provides services to … people, either in
supported tenancies or outreach support from their family homes.
W.I.L.L. is committed to the development of a high quality support service, which is
individualised, flexible and tailored to meet the needs of people with a learning
disability, within Wirral, which will enable them to live within their own communities
and lead lifestyles of their own choosing.
W.I.L.L. believes that people with learning disabilities have an entitlement to
experience living independently, if they choose to.