In an Australian first, Northcott Innovation (NI) is developing a unique project that brings together people with disability living in supported accommodation and those who support them.  

The project, is called the Supported Living Lab (SL/lab) and it provides an opportunity for people with lived experience to be directly involved in learning what’s important to them, and play a part in thinking differently about their own services and support.

NI’s Executive Director, Sam Frain says supported living homes are unique and the connections and relationships between residents and staff can bring challenges which are often no resolved. However, the SL/lab addresses these challenges using a new approach.

We can look at a problem from multiple angles and come up with solutions that may not have been discovered if we’d only looked it from one view.” Sam saidGo to Nula (UTM link] to read the full story.

“Will we bring customers, together with people from different fields to work together. For example, we will team dieticians with designers and speech therapists with storytellers, using approaches that can hopefully make real change.” Sam said.

An inclusive governance approach
The SL/lab is managed by a Steering Committee which made up of Northcott staff, customers and external experts, and it’s designed to make sure everyone understands and contributes to the meetings. The minutes are written in Easy English, support workers are present at every meeting (with each customer) and there is a dedicated staff member who works with customers between meetings to make sure they have time to prepare their talking points.

Mapping the supported living environment
The NI team are working with researchers from the University of Technology (UTS) to build a map of what supported living looks like, to show how complex Supported Living can be. Once this map is finalised, Northcott staff and customers will be able to use it as a tool to help gain a better understanding of our homes.

How can staff get involved?
There will be plenty of opportunities for staff to get involved with this innovative project. One way is through the Internship program, which will host a small group of staff to work regularly with the SL/Lab to learn about different approaches to problem-solving and develop decision-making and leadership skills. EOIs will be sought for this program, so make sure you continue to read NULA, Noise and this newsletter for updates.

If you have any questions about the SL/Lab, or problems you think the team should tackle, please get in touch with Sam Frain sam@northcottinnovation.com.au or Georgina Hibberd georgina@northcottinnovation.com.au