Help for people with learning difficulties

Help for people with learning difficulties

Information on how our services can help you such as get a learning assessment, find a place to live and learn new skills.

We try to help people with learning difficulties to look after themselves and to get any other help they need. We want to help them do things and get the most out of life.

We may be able to

  • Help you find the right place to live
  • Cope with leaving school or children's services and becoming an adult
  • Arrange for you to do things during the day. To do things you're good at, or to try new activities, learn new skills and meet new people. This is called Day Services.
  • Help you to find training or a job.

Sometimes you and the person who looks after you might need a break from being with each other. We may be able to arrange a short break. This might be for a few hours or a few days. This is called Respite Care.

How to find out if we can help

We'll need to meet you, or talk to you by telephone.

This gives us the chance to find out what you want and need. Your parents, partner or anyone else looking after you can also meet or talk to us.

This is called an assessment. There is a waiting list for an assessment. After it's done we'll tell you if we can help and what we can do.

We have leaflets about our services for adults with learning difficulties.

Leaflet about our services for people with learning difficulties (pdf, 120 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 121KB) (opens new window)

What we write about you

When we work with you we write about your needs and the help you are getting. We may have to write down other things about your situation.

What we write is called your records. Your records might be kept on paper or on a computer.

We have clear rules about who can see your records. You have the right to see them. Ask your worker if you would like to see your records.

How to contact us

Contact our Care Direct service.

What to do if things go wrong: complaints

You can complain if:

  • you think Health and Social Care is not giving you the help that has been agreed
  • things go wrong
  • you feel something is not right

Find out more about complaints

Jobs and training

Bristol One Stop Shop (BOSS)

BOSS promotes employment to people with learning difficulties through:

  • workshops, surgeries and special events run with other local organisations
  • linking people with advice and support on a work related issues, including how to get training; how supported employment works and benefits advice


Telephone: 0845 224 8789

Preparing for adulthood

If you’re over 14 and under 25, you can find information and advice on the Bristol SEND Local Offer website to help you make important choices about education, work, training and apprenticeships.


For advice and information about Benefits, keeping well, housing, education and jobs.

Freephone: 0808 808 1111 (10am to 4pm Monday to Friday)

Day Services

The city council runs Resource and Activity Centres and two drop-in centres.

River Street Peer Support

This is one of our services. It's a place where people with learning difficulties can meet and spend time doing what they want to do. It's in the centre of Bristol. We've got people working there, but it's people with learning difficulties that decide what happens.

Telephone: 0117 941 2534

South Bristol Drop-in

The Park
Daventry Road
Bristol BS4 1QD
Tel: 0117 377 3686

North Bristol Drop-in

139 Muller Road
Bristol BS7 9RE
Tel: 0117 903 8007

North Bristol Drop-in leaflet (pdf, 1.0 MB) (opens new window) (pdf, 1MB) (opens new window)

National Forum of people with learning difficulties
This website tells you all about the National Forum for people with learning difficulties. It's a useful site covering what's going on nationally and in the South West.


Bristol has a number of clubs providing social and recreational activities for people with learning difficulties. They can be a good way of building friendships, confidence and skills. Often these are Gateway clubs with past or current connections to Mencap. Volunteers run these clubs and the organisers are always pleased to here from people who may wish to help.

If you're involved in a club for people with learning difficulties and you'd like the details listed here please let us know.

Clifton Gateway Club
Redland Reformed United Church, Redland
Meets on Tuesdays, between 7 to 9pm
Telephone Clare Uden on 0117 983 3138

Dame Emily Gateway Club
Ebenezer Church, British Road, Bedminster
Meets on alternate Mondays, between 7.30 to 9.30pm
Telephone Sally Davis on 0117 983 2602

Harbour Gateway Club
St Mary on the Quay, St Augustines Parade
Meets on Tuesdays, between 7pm to 9pm
Telephone Janet Alexander on 0117 977 1322

Stepping Out
This is a mental health theatre group and is open to people who have used mental health services and their allies. Visit Stepping Out Theatre for more information.

Learning Difficulties Partnership

Bristol's Learning Difficulties Partnership Board talks about planning and developing services for people with learning difficulties in Bristol. Its members include people with learning difficulties, family carers, service providers and senior managers from the Primary Care Trust and the council.

The board is chaired by two people: a person with learning difficulties and the council's Executive member for Health and Social Care.

The board aims to make sure 'Valuing People' and 'Valuing People Now' happens in Bristol. The board has sub-groups and project groups to help with this work.

The board checks bids for money from the Learning Difficulties Development Fund. It recommends to the Joint Commissioning Board which projects should get money.

For more information about the last meeting use this link: Learning Difficulties Partnership meetings.

Plan for buying services

Read the plan about buying services for people with learning difficulties (pdf, 2.2 MB) (opens new window) (pdf, 2.2MB) (opens new window)

This plan explains how we will make sure:

  • people with learning difficulties have the same choice and control in their lives as everyone else
  • family carers are able to choose to provide support themselves or to use other services