Evaluation of projects supporting individualised opportunities for young people with disabilities
Research team
Dr Richard Wynne & Dr Donal McAnaney, Work Research Centre

Evaluation of individualised opportunities for young people with disabilities


The policy context in which Day Care Services for people with disabilities operate has changed substantially in recent years. The ‘New Directions’ reporti recommends a move away from group-based day care service provision within sheltered workshops towards a more community and employment focused approach. In addition, the New Directions report strongly recommends a move towards individualised planning and delivery of services. These are both key themes of the 15 projects funded under Genio’s 2012 Grant Stream 3 – ‘Supporting School Leavers’. The Value for Money Reportii (VFM), which points to the need to assess the costs of new approaches to service provision, is another key element of the policy context. These changes in the policy context allow for a radically different approach to be taken to service provision. In their different ways, the 15 projects under review have embraced this challenge and though they have disparate aims, diverse participants and operate on different scales, they provide fascinating insights into how services for school leavers with disabilities may look in the future.

Aims of the evaluation

This study documented and evaluated the activities and outcomes of 15 projects funded by Genio in 2012, including interviews with 39 individuals from these projects and a further 19 individuals from comparison projects. The projects intended to explore alternative ways of meeting the work, education, training and recreation needs of young people with disabilities through mainstream services, and be located in ‘real’ community settings.

Key Points
  • Mainstream community-based activities are central to the success of projects, in the eyes of participants.
  • The new approaches to service delivery and organisation were highly valued by participants.
  • Project costs were generally lower when compared to comparable projects.

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