Minister's approval for pioneering care service

John Phillips GOVERNMENT minister Phil Hope has praised care facilities for some of Barking and Dagenham s most vulnerable people. The social care minister helped to launch Barking Learning Centre s new Tulip caf�, which shows artwork created by people who have used me

John Phillips

GOVERNMENT minister Phil Hope has praised care facilities for some of Barking and Dagenham's most vulnerable people.

The social care minister helped to launch Barking Learning Centre's new Tulip caf�, which shows artwork created by people who have used mental health services.

The council is hosting the first-floor gallery at the caf� in Town Square, which is run by Tulip mental health charity.


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Mr Hope also visited Darcy House, Jack Jones Way, Dagenham - a �7.3million retirement complex which promotes independent living - and met elderly residents.

He said: "The council has clearly been doing great work in providing individual budgets for social care so that people who need services can choose the ones they want.

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"Having that extra element of choice and control appears to have made a real difference to people's quality of life."

Darcy House has 16 bungalows and 36 flats with self-contained kitchens and communal areas, including a store, dining room and library, where staff provide 24-hour support and assistance.

Barking and Dagenham Council is managing Darcy House with the Hanover Housing Association.

Council chiefs are also promoting the latest in social care by encouraging the use of the government's "direct payments" scheme, which are cash payments made to individuals who have been assessed as needing services, in lieu of social service provisions.

They can buy in services like washing, dressing, shopping and cleaning, rather than rely on ones provided by the council.

Sue Ayto, Hanover head of sales, said: "Hanover is reinventing retirement housing and taking a lead in raising standards across the industry."

Mr Hope said: "From what I've seen, I think the high quality social care services provided by Barking and Dagenham are an example for other areas to learn from.

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