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Staff and the people they support at Beech Hill, a community house for younger adults with autism and a learning disability in Haywards Heath, are celebrating after it was awarded ‘Outstanding’ by care watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The award puts Beech Hill in the top two per cent of care providers in the whole of England. Rachel Priestly, Manager at Beech Hill, said everyone was delighted when they heard the news: “It put a huge smile on everyone’s face – all the staff and the people we support here have worked so hard to achieve this and go above and beyond their roles to give people the best opportunities. I am very proud of them all.”

Irene Sobowale, Chief Executive of The Disabilities Trust, which owns the house, said: “This is the equivalent of an Olympic or Paralympic gold medal for us! I am enormously proud of Beech Hill, especially our amazing staff team. We will certainly celebrate this achievement.”

She added: "This is a wonderful achievement and exemplifies the standards we set for the Trust overall.”

The report found that ‘The service had an extremely positive culture that was exceptionally person-centred, open, inclusive and empowering. Each service user has a trusted member of staff who ‘continuously looked for ways to ensure people had positive experiences and led fulfilling lives’. The inspectors also reported that:

Staff went the extra mile to share information with people and provide explanations in a way that empowered them to make informed decisions and become more independent’ with one service user telling them "I make my own choices, I decide what I do."

The inspectors spoke to family members who were very satisfied with the support provided "Staff are brilliant, they have good ideas, useful ones, they have a lot of empathy and get things done. I've no concerns". They also praised the continuity of provision which had a positive impact on people's wellbeing, reduced their anxiety levels and provided stability with a relative commenting "Consistency is the key and they do that well".

Health professionals were also very satisfied with one telling the inspectors: "It's very, very well organised. They are excellent and go beyond what they're supposed to do."

CQC praised the management of the house, as did staff, saying: "I love working here. I've learnt a lot and developed my career.” Another said: "We work well as a team, it works like clockwork. We provide consistent support; this is a very settled house".