Charity opens training flat to help vulnerable adults learn to live independently

Lesley Bishoprick in The Flat @ Able.

A charity has opened a training flat which is being used to help vulnerable adults practice independent living skills.

Northdale, which provides training and work-based activities for adults with learning disabilities and/or physical disabilities, has created the flat at its ABLE (Activity Based Learning Environment) Day centre on the Colburn Business Park.

The centre, which is owned and supported by Broadacres Housing Association, offers a wide range of arts and crafts-based activities for vulnerable adults, but part of the top floor of the building has now been converted into a flat.

The flat looks exactly like a flat you would see in the community, including a fully working kitchen, lounger, shower and even a bed.

Whilst no-one will actually sleep in the flat, it has been designed to stimulate an environment people would expect if and when they do move into their own premises.

Those who are referred to ‘The Flat @ Able’ will learn everything from how to cook meals, through to using a washing machine, making a bed and other important life skills such as personal hygiene, money skills and shopping.

Lesley Bishoprick, who manages the ABLE Centre, said: “The flat has been developed as a training and assessment space in which professionals can help vulnerable individuals develop and move towards greater independence.

“It offers a real simulated living environment which will help vulnerable adults gain the independent living skills which will serve them well in the future if, and when; they eventually move into their own accommodation.

“The vast majority of people take life skills such as cooking and cleaning for granted but for others this will be a whole new experience but with our support, they will be able to practice living alone in a safe daytime environment.”

Andy Powell, Broadacres customer experience director, said: “Broadacres used to operate the ABLE Centre and even though we passed the day-to-day running over to Northdale, we have always been keen to continue our support of such an important service.

“It’s very possible that the people who learn independent living skills at the ABLE flat will become our customers in the future, so we are delighted to be associated with such a wonderful project as this.”

Professionals wishing to book the flat for people they support can do so by calling 01748 883294 or email