The Cube Disability

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Cube Disability is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

All smiles, Paige from The Cube
Disability Northampton
Theo rocking out at
TheCube Disability
Performing Arts Academy
The Cube Disability is a day centre and care service for
adults and young people with a range of learning
disabilities, based in Northamptonshire. Founded in
2000, they now operate four centres across the county and
have gained support through their innovative and alternative
approach to care. Owner and Care Manager Jelena Milic
explains that they have never put limits on the ambitions of an
adult with learning disabilities, and they believe that with the
right support adults with learning disabilities will be able to
access more opportunities than they ever have before.
At The Cube Disability, we provide care in a different way. The staff and I are
constantly innovating; we continually look at new approaches and we are
always open to taking an alternative route – we were the first care provider in
Northampton to open an art-specific day centre. We publish our own magazine,
Hello Disability
, we sponsor Northampton Saints rugby team, as well as local
football and cricket teams, and we utilise social media and our local paper to
highlight the achievements of our clients. This approach has not only allowed us to
grow and succeed, but it has also brought us closer to achieving our express goal
– to change the way many people view adults with learning difficulties, and show
them just how talented, confident and ambitious they are.
A different kind of service
We provide a day service for adults with learning disabilities, as well as weekend,
evening and holiday care, from our four sites across Northamptonshire.
»Owner and Care Manager:
Jelena Milic
»Founded in 2000
»Based in Northamptonshire
»Number of employees: 30
»Four centres across
Northamptonshire, with one
specifically dedicated to arts
The Cube Disability
Highlighting best practice
Ourbuildings and our approach
are modern, and we have invested
heavily to ensure our clients can enjoy
the best quality of life possible. This
includes living-skills training such as
cooking, and outdoor and communal
areas where they can socialise and
act independently. Beyond the day
centres, we run regular trips to cafés,
restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and
we recently took some of our clients
to see Little Mix. We have also taken
a number of our clients on holiday, to
locations including Croatia, Turkey,
Spain, Brighton, London andLeeds.
So many people living with learning
disabilities are not afforded the
same opportunities as the rest of
society. Often, they are not allowed
to be independent, to make their
own decisions or to enjoy a lot of
the hobbies and activities that other
people their age take for granted.
Understanding this frustration and
ambition is central to our work, and
we make it clear to our clients that
they are deserving of exactly the
same opportunities as anyone else.
By placing more trust in adults with
learning disabilities, and through
exposing them to young, committed
and friendly staff, we are able to
integrate them into communities in a
personal and long-lasting way.
Foundation and community
I founded The Cube Disability in 2000,
following a seven-year spell working
in social services. At the time, I felt I
could make a larger impact with my
own care service, which would be able
to function without the restrictions
institutionalised care placed on me.
In practice, there
been fewer
restrictions, and the opportunity
to experiment and work out what
works best for clients has been a
privilege – one that I have only been
afforded because of the risk I took in
My staff are immensely passionate
about helping adults with disabilities,
and they are very proud to see the
progress our clients make each day.
They have also been successful at
working with the community, which
not only builds support for the centre,
but also helps raise awareness as
to what having learning disabilities
actually entails. Staff and families of
clients often express their happiness
at how welcoming the community
has been, but without the integration
and effort taken to engage them, the
boundaries that have been ruptured
may have remained.
Building awareness has been central
to my plans for the centre, but a
change in legislation has been a
key reason for our success. In 2010,
adults with learning disabilities in
Northamptonshire were granted
choice over which care service they
accessed, while care providers had
previously been assigned clients based
on location. This allowed us to begin
competing for clients, by allowing our
quality and innovative approach to set
us apart from our competitors. Prior
to the change, we would only acquire
clients assigned to us, whereas clients
are now empowered by law to make
their own choice.
Fulfil your life at Cube
We hope to see
more people
with learning
getting married,
having children,
working full
time and being
fully involved in
their local
while still
receiving the
This change has been incredibly
important, because the additional
competition it created has raised
the standards of care and forced
providers to improve their service
and treat all clients with the respect
they deserve. In 2000, we only had
two clients, but the new system
has enabled us to grow this base
by providing a consistent, quality
service. The system also puts the
power back in the hands of the
person affected. It gives those with
learning disabilities more control, and
empowers them to make their own
decisions. Northamptonshire was one
of the first counties to implement the
new system on a trial basis, and there
are now 15 private providers of day
services for individuals with learning
disabilities as a result.
Overcoming challenges
Funding always presents a challenge
to care providers, and many adult
social services budgets are being cut
by local councils. We have seen a
number of adults who require five-
day care have their days reduced,
while we cannot fund some of our
activities as a result of the cuts. I have
been happy to step in and fund trips
that public funds do not allow for;
however, this is not a sustainable
model and it does not work for many
care providers.
Despite cuts, we have remained
determined to discover new efficiencies
and new methods of saving, in order
to ensure that vulnerable people
continue to receive the care they need.
The UK care service remains one of
Looking ahead
Our ambition is limitless, and we
want to continue to question what is
expected of a care provider. We are
looking at ideas aimed at encouraging
young people with learning
disabilities to go to university, and
we are hoping that our art academy
can be replicated around the UK.
I am also very passionate about
increasing the sports provision for
our clients, because promoting the
physical health and wellbeing of
adults with learning disabilities is
Finally, we want to continue to
push the boundaries for individuals
with learning disabilities, challenge
perspectives and encourage genuine
progress. We hope to see more
people with learning disabilities
getting married, having children,
working full time and being fully
involved in their local community,
while still receiving the required
support. My dream is to see an MP
with learning difficulties, and with the
support that services like ours provide,
this is possible.
We continually
look at new
approaches and
we are always
open to taking
an alternative
My dreams can come true at
Cube Arts Academy

This article was sponsored by The Cube Disability. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.