A SERVICE which works with young people with learning disabilities has been praised for the work it has done to improve the lives of young people in the Bradford district.

The Affinity Trust’s Positive Behaviour Support service was commissioned by Bradford Council and the district’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, and began work in Bradford in February 2018.

In that time the service, run by a specialist team has working with children and their families, schools and other relevant professionals to prevent children with learning disabilities from being taken into residential care.

The work over the past 15 months has now been recognised with an excellence award from the British Institute of Learning Disabilities.

The award is for “excellence in applying the principles of positive behaviour support into practice”.

Psychologist Matthew Hodder leads the team at the PBS service, and works with his team of key-workers to support young people.

He said: “The service so far has been very successful.

“All the children we have been supporting have remained at home, avoiding expensive residential and educational placements.

“And, after just seven months, we were able to stop working intensively with one child.”

Since it began, thanks to the PBS service the quality of life for children accessing the service has improved overall.

Their life skills, social skills and communication skills have all improved and grown, they have become more active members in their community, and have began accessing public facilities such as the library and swimming pool more regularly.

One parent whose child has been helped by the PBS service said: “Without the PBS service I would have struggled…Now, since I got this support in, I’ve got more confidence.”

Overall, feedback from families has been positive to the work provided by the Affinity Trust, and strong relationships have been formed with schools and social care professionals.

Paul Taylor, Affinity Trust’s head of children’s services development, said: “This award is a recognition of the superb service provided by the PBS team.

“We’re delighted that the service has been recognised so soon after being launched.

“The award clearly shows the positive impact that PBS can have on children, young people and their families. I look forward to working with more local authorities to help keep families together.”

Gladys Rhodes-White, interim strategic director of children’s services at Bradford Council, said: “It’s great news that Matthew and his team have received this award.

“It’s recognition of some of the excellent prevention work that is taking place across the Bradford District to improve outcomes for children with learning disabilities.

“This innovative project is about partnership working with agencies and Affinity Trust to support some of the most vulnerable young people and their families.”