Support to live your life independently - Learning Disability and Autism Hub

There are a lot of useful services in Surrey to help residents be independent and stay safe.

Use this part of the website to find the right support for you or someone you care for.

Find out what Surrey County Council are doing to develop Independent living accommodation.

Page contents

Independent living

Independent living refers to supported living arrangements where a person is provided with accommodation and support.

Support is offered through an organisation in a way that maximises independence and self-determination.

This can include support with developing daily living skills, and sometimes includes personal care.

Independent living arrangements can be delivered:

  • in self-contained owner-occupied or rented accommodation.
  • in shared accommodation for people who may require a greater level of care and support and/or prefer a group living environment but are able to exercise a greater degree of choice and control over their daily lives than would be possible in a care home setting.

Independent living is based on individuals having a tenancy. They have the right to remain in their own home and change their support provider if they wish.

See our easy read guide for independent living (PDF).

Tori's supported independent living story

Watch this video to see how Tori has benefitted from independent living.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing and use British Sign Language (BSL) you can watch Tori's story with BSL on YouTube.

Home based care

Home Based Care is support provided for regular fixed time periods, usually on a daily basis, to help people with specified tasks for daily living including personal care (for example assist someone to get up in the morning, wash and dress, prepare meals and so on).

Services need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission as a domiciliary care provider.

Shared Lives

Shared Lives (SL) is a longstanding form of care that centres on sharing home, family, and community life, in supporting people to lead fulfilling and active lives.

SL schemes are an alternative to home care and residential care for people in need of care and support.

In Shared Lives schemes, a Shared Lives carer and someone who needs support get to know each other and, if they both feel that they will be able to form a long-term bond, they share homes, family, and community life.

This can mean that the person becomes a regular daytime or overnight visitor to the Shared Lives Carers household, or it means that the person moves in with the Shared Lives Carer.

Watch this animation to hear about how Shared Lives has enabled Michael to live a fulfilling and active life the way he wants to.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing and use British Sign Language (BSL) you can watch Michael's story with BSL on YouTube.

Shannon's shared lives story

Watch this video that shares how shared lives has worked for Shannon.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing and use British Sign Language you can watch Shannon's story with BSL on YouTube.

Residential accommodation

Residential Care is full-time, often long-term care given to an individual in a registered setting rather than an individual's own home. Residential care homes provide accommodation and personal care for people throughout each day. These services need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission.

Nursing Care is the same as residential care but is also able to respond to an individual's specialist health needs that need to be performed by a trained nurse.

Direct payments

Direct payments are a way for you to arrange your own adult social care support. Please see the following web page: find out more about direct payments and if you can use them.

The Surrey Independent Living Council has a page on its website explaining how direct payments can help people.

Surrey Local Offer has information about direct payments for children and young people on its website.

Direct payments, Easy read (PDF)

Employment and finding a job

Having a job gives you control over your life and helps your community. Autistic people and people with learning disabilities can use their skills and experiences to do work they enjoy.

The government's website has a section for finding a full-time or part-time job.

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities has information on its website about how to start finding a job and other useful tips.

The National Autistic Society Surrey Branch has booklets for autistic people about work options.

Naturally Talented Me

Naturally Talented Me is a free to use website to help people to find jobs, work, and career opportunities by matching their talents and skills to jobs in Surrey.

You'll put in some things about you, what interests you and your hobbies and a SeeMe portfolio will be made. It is different to what you usually have to do as it is not based on qualifications and education.

You may have health issues, or a disability or caring responsibilities. This will be thought about when matching you to the right job opportunity that would be good for you. It's about finding what you are good at to help you get a job.

Claiming benefits

You can find information about Personal Independence Payment on the Government's website.

There are easy read guides available(GOV.UK) explaining how you can get help from Personal Independence Payment and how to claim it.

You may receive a letter (GOV.UK) inviting you to claim Personal Independence Payment. If you do, make sure to show it to your supporter.

The Department for Work and Pensions have easy read guides (GOV.UK) that explain what Universal Credit is and how you can apply for it.

You can get advice in Surrey by contacting Surrey Welfare Rights Unit.

Support to live your life independently and find out about claiming benefits. Including Universal credit, personal independence payments and easy ready guides.


Here are some useful free apps you can download on your smart phone, to help you get out and about in your community. These can be found on the Apple App store, Google Play and equivalents.

  • Passenger Assistance App This app is designed for both people with Disabilities and cares, to request assistance for rail travel, nationally.
  • Blue Badge Style This app will map out the best places and trendy in London for accessibility, including bars, cafes, restaurants hotels and more! No more worry about unexpected steps, and inaccessible areas.
  • Blue Badge Parking This uses the What 3 Word system and helps you find car parks with blue badge bays nearby.

Please watch this Surrey Coalition video about technology and loneliness.

Files available to download

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.