Young people with complex needs associated with autism ‘have a voice’ and ‘are supported to be as healthy as they can be and to achieve to their potential’ at a specialist residential service in Presteigne, according to a new report.

The latest annual Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) inspection at Summergil House found residents there are routinely consulted about their care, activities and the environment around them.

The service also won praise for its ‘person-centred approach’ and for making use of the site’s extensive grounds to carry out stimulating activities, like gardening, bush-craft and caring for chickens and rabbits, to support the ‘learning, development and physical health’ of its residents.

Summergil House is part of Orbis Education and Care, a sector-leading group of specialist services in England and Wales. With 15 young people in residential care, the home runs alongside a school facility on the same site and has welcomed the positive news.

Matt Dobbs, Registered Manager at Summergil, said: “Our amazing team here are dedicated to making sure our children lead a happy and fulfilling life during their time at Summergil House. We work in a beautiful environment with an amazing team.

“We have a collective commitment to ensuring all of those within our care feel supported, and empowered to express themselves as individuals, and we are continually striving to provide exemplary levels of care for our young people.”

“To have this hard work and dedication formally recognised by Care Inspectorate Wales is an absolute delight to the team here at Summergil House,” Matt added.

Previously Womaston House, the site was given a new lease of life as a haven for young people with needs associated with autism after it was purchased by Orbis Education and Care and re-opened as a specialist school and residential service in 2017.

Since then Orbis has worked hard to create an environment inclusive for all, not just with regards to the young people it exists to support but with local businesses and local residents as well as the staff team.

This was evidenced in the CIW report, with inspectors referencing ‘pictures of young people happily returning from the local shops and of a young person carrying out work experience in the community’.

Inspectors remarked that ‘pictures showed that young people had enjoyed their Halloween and Christmas celebrations, and trips out to various theme parks and play centres’ and that ‘a young person we spoke to told us that their home was “the best”’.

As well as progressing the young people in its care, leaders ‘also ensure that staff receive suitable training and support to enable them to meet the complex needs of young people.’

CIW observed that ‘staff were happy in their work’ and that new staff spoke positively about their inductions as well as a buddy scheme where they are matched with more experienced staff for mentoring purposes.

Mike Currier, CEO at Orbis Education and Care, said: “Our model is successful because it applies a person-centred approach when it comes to the children and adults in our care.

“This report from Care Inspectorate Wales is testament to the hard work and dedication of our colleagues at Summergil House, who provide a warm, caring and empowering environment where our children learn to live as independently as possible.”

Mike added: “The comments in this report ultimately speak for themselves, and we’re truly thrilled that the team’s efforts have been formally recognised. We are very proud of our team at Summergil House and congratulate them on their success.”

Orbis is currently recruiting support workers to join its schools and residential services across South and Mid Wales, as well as Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.