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HFT-Home Farm Trust



Operational Information


More Info


Home Farm Trust (HFT) is a national charity providing long-term support for people with learning disabilities and their families to live the life they want to live, by taking the time to get to know them and their aims, and providing friendly support and expert advice where it’s needed, whether it’s with housing, jobs, money, or relationships. It offers a wide range of flexible services throughout the UK, including assistive technologies.HFT provides a number of basic training packages for email, Internet searching and multi-media programmes for care workers

In 2004, the organisation secured funding from the European Social Fund to lead the TATE project (Through Assistive Technology to Employment) which was aimed atthe adaptation of assistive technologies that were traditionally associated with the care of older people to people with learning difficulties. The TATE project ended in 2008, but HFT continues to implement assistive technologies for its clients thanks to private funding.

HFT has developed a needs-led assessment process for introducing its clients to assistive technology. This process evaluates every stage of the procedure: referral, consent, assessment, funding, equipment identification and ordering, response protocol, installation, review and changing needs. All these stages are focussed on the families of the client.

HFT also runs the Karten CTEC Centre. This implements the use of ICT in many innovative ways, including staff training on computers to meet the needs of HFT’s clients. The CTEC Centre has computers with broadband networks, an interactive whiteboard, data projector and up-to-date software. Additionally, the CTEC Centre runs a variety of ICT-based courses for clients, the most popular of which is a one-day life-story workshop designed to allow clients to put together a multimedia profile using computer technology. There are also courses that use email with specially adapted symbols for use by people with learning difficulties. These courses are accredited by the City and Guilds and the Learning Disability Awards Framework.

There is a £1 per week fee for the service that users pay themselves. To access the service a pc and an internet connection are required. The staff is made up of social care workers and volunteers and the initiative involves organizations belonging to the Private and the Voluntary sector.

refers to the target users, kind of service provided, ICTs typologies and devices used

HFT-Home Farm Trust

The main aim of the initiativeis to support people with learning disabilities to:

  • Live where and with whom they want
  • Decide how they want to live, and what they want to do
  • Develop skills through jobs and volunteering
  • Get involved in their local communities
  • Make friends or find a partner
  • Keep healthy and take care of themselves
  • Understand how they can get a package of support that suits them
  • Manage their money

Hft commitment goes beyond being just a high quality support provider. The HFT’s team works in partnership with the people it supports, their families and carers and health professionals to develop effective services that will help people live the life they choose. In 1962 a group of parents of children with learning disability got together to ensure that their children would continue to be supported in leading fulfilling lives. Since that moment, many other families have joined this group of parents and today the HFT focus is firmly on developing tailored services for people with learning disabilities, supporting all people wanting to lead independent life in their homes with their relatives.


Yes Care Recipients
Yes Informal carers
No Paid assistants
No Formal carers


Not available


Yes Independent Living
No Information and learning for carers
Yes Personal Support and Social Integration for carer
No Care coordination


Kind of services provided through the use of ICTs:

  1. Supported living Many people take choosing where to live and who to live with for granted, yet it is a fundamental part of feeling in control of life. At Hft, people with learning disabilities are supported to live however and wherever they choose, often helping them move from residential care or family homes into their own home or a house shared with friends. Once they have found the right place to live, they are supported in their house whether that be round the clock or occasional dropping in to help with the bills or shopping.
  2. Residential care Hft works with families, carers and health professionals to develop support tailored to their needs.
  3. Personalised Technology Hft is the recognised UK leader in using Personalised Technology, sometimes referred to as Assistive Technology, to enhance people’s lives and increase their independence. The approach of Personalised Technology is to look at what people want to achieve first and then look at the solutions technology can provide. In other words, it's not about the technology itself, it’s about the people and how to help them to live the life they choose.
  4. Short breaks Hft offers a range of completely flexible short breaks and respite care services for people with learning disabilities and their loved ones, tailored to meet individual needs. Such breaks are offered at dedicated short break centres at home, or at local centres which offer a rich range of activities. They also support people to go on longer holidays
  5. Family Carer Support Service Hft's Family Carer Support Service (FCSS) is a completely free service provided to families which include a member with a learning disability. The Family Carer Support Service implies supporting family carers in the key issues that affect them, bringing them together with other family carers to share experiences, and ensuring that family carers have a voice in relevant government policies. Hft relies exclusively on funding from voluntary donations and grants to run itself. See section on funding.
  6. Empowering individuals Hft empowers people with learning disabilities to make choices about how they live their lives. Whatever people's needs, preferences and goals, they are close to them to help them decide on the best type of support. This might include supporting someone to find a job, building new relationships or getting involved with activities in the local community.
  7. Everyday Life This service intends to help people decide exactly what support they need in everyday life - whether that's using public transport, cooking, or managing finances.
  8. Employment Having a job can play an important role in improving self-esteem, growing skills and meeting new people. So carers are supported in finding a suitable job.
  9. Leisure Whatever type of leisure activity users want to get involved with in their community – from taking up a new sport to going to the pub with friends – they are helped in finding it.
  10. Friendship and Dating Hft can support people with learning disabilities to make new friends, or stay in touch with old ones, through friendship groups, events and activities.

A personal computer and an internet connection are the only two devices required to use the service.

For care workers, HFT provides a number of basic training packages for email, Internet searching and multi-media programs.

Kind of technological supports used by carers and/or care recipients: assistive technologies for emails with specially adapted symbols for people with learning difficulties.

Operational Information
refers to the type of funding, budget, sustainability and organisations involved

Private only
Other: please specify

Not applicable

Private out of pocket: users pay the service by themselves

Not available


The service was funded by public funding in the beginning until 2008. Now it continues thanks to private funding only. The first option is to see whether the local authority will pay for the equipment. Then HFT will try and raise funds to pay for it, or see if there is enough in the Trust to pay for it. Some users will pay for the equipment themselves. Maintenance of the equipment can add 15/25% to the initial costs, though HFT tends not to focus too much on maintenance


The sustainability plan takes into account that funding has been hard to secure, with a reliance on grants (including one from Vodafone). So, in the future, HFT hopes to develop e-learning facilities and online modules for training purposes, and to have all staff able to use ICT-based services in order to increase its target users

€ 50,000 - 500,000

Not available


No Authorities
Yes Private Care Sector
No Health and Social Care Systems
Yes Third Sector
No Private Companies


Not available

HFT is a charity with a leading role in fundraising, implementation, organization and promotion.

Yes Informal Carers
No Health Professionals
Yes Social Care Professionals
No Privately-Hired Care Assistants (inc. Migrant Care Workers)
Yes Volunteers


The organization employs trainers with ICT expertise and hosts an intra-net based exchange forum that has around 500 professional users. Hft is working towards enabling all staff associated with it to communicate via the Internet.

Area Manager: Area Managers enable supported people in the local area to achieve their aspirations. Area managers are great communicators, relationship builders and negotiators. They work with the care recipients and their carers, to get the most out of staff, to develop effective partnerships with local organizations and health professionals and to lead negotiations on funding or resources for the people Hft work with. Area Managers are responsible for all operational support staff, volunteers and the Service in the area. Responsibilities also include planning and developing services according to local needs, managing finances for the services in their area, and ensuring the delivery of high quality services according to relevant legislative and quality standards.

Service Manager: Service Managers make sure that services meet the wants and needs of the clients from choosing the right staff to ensuring the service has the right resources. Running the business end of the services, Service Managers are skilled at identifying creative solutions for the people supported. They look for ways to improve services, develop specialist support as needed and identify new development opportunities, all with the aim of helping the supported people to live the life they choose. They are responsible for recruiting, developing and leading service staff that match client’s needs and comply with relevant legislative and quality standards. They also have a lot of experience in health and social care, know the relevant legislation inside-out and are skilled in assessment, support planning and report writing. These managers are able to look for creative solutions to meet people’s support needs in a way that respects their individuality and to build strong staff teams with these qualities.

Support worker/ senior support worker: Support Workers, support people in keeping healthy, in doing the things they enjoy and in getting involved in their local community like providing personal care or emotional support, support with household tasks or helping them pay the bills. Support can be delivered in the home, out and about in the community, or away on holiday, both day and night.

Additionally, managers participate in recording the administration of medicine, speaking on behalf of the people who are supported and take part in assessments and contract reviews.

Support workers also take part in managing people’s finances, purchasing materials, and helping manage complex or sensitive issues, including advising and encouraging the people who are supported. As well as providing support, there are general administrative duties such as completing necessary care records and working to appropriate legislative and care standards. Senior support workers are also responsible for leading shifts, for supervising staff in their team, and covering for the service manager. They also need a good understanding of appropriate standards and legislation with a view to supporting their team to work to those standards.

Relief Support Worker: Relief support worker work on a temporary basis with the clients and they help to ensure that Hft maintains a high quality service all the time. They provide support to people to achieve what they want to in terms of their health, in doing the things they enjoy and in getting involved in their local community. They help withthe everyday things like providing personal care or emotional support, support with household tasks or financial management and undertake sleep-in duties, or act as second level support when accompanying people on holiday. Relief support workers undertake general administrative duties, completing necessary care records and working to appropriate legislative and care standards.


Volunteering with Hft can be a rewarding way to spend spare time and there are different and flexible ways to get involved. Volunteers are supported through on-the-job training and the information packs provided, covering travel expenses where appropriate or other specific support needed for the volunteering role. Volunteers can have different roles:

  1. Supporting adults with learning disabilities at Hft services : Hft has many services across UK. Support can be to local people with learning disabilities on a weekly outing, in their home or with their garden.
  2. Fundraising: there are various events to raise money for Hft such as running marathons or cake sales: Volunteers can run these events.
  3. Luv2meetU: Luv2meetU is Hft’s dating agency which currently operates in the north of England. Volunteers can support people with learning disabilities during social events like theatre trips, themed party nights and discos.

Not available


A lot of initiatives and events are organized in order to promote the service: concerts, marathons, bike and foot rides. There is also a Media contact section.

refers to the impact of the service on end-users, care organisations and authorities


The service positively impacts on:

- Informal carers because it reconciles care and work and improves their social life and health.

- Paid assistants because the service improves their social life and health.

- Elderly people because the service improves their health and social relationships.

Other benefits:

  • It increases the care recipient’s and informal carer’s acceptance of the ICT.

Despite some concerns from clients in the early stages, demonstration of the ICT-based courses reveals their benefits and overcomes initial fears. HFT has its own database which measures confidence, independence, reassurance and safety. There is also an attempt to scenario model what would be the costs involved in not having the technology. Some findings show that rather than isolation, ICT actually helps people become more integrated (Schmidt et al., 2011).


Benefits of this service on:

- Private organisations that provide care: the service helps to save costs and optimize resources

- Companies and the labour market: the service helps the informal carer to reconcile paid work and caring tasks and it avoids added costs for replacing the worker who has to stay at home with the care recipient (Schmidt et al., 2011).


Benefits of this service on public authorities, NHS and social care services: the service helps to save the costs of home caring and hospitalisation and it is effective in training and relieving informal carers so it helps to optimise financial and human resources (Schmidt et al., 2011).



  1. Support is available every day, or for just a few hours a week. It’s a flexible and accessible solution able to fulfill any user’s need.
  2. The service alleviates social exclusion, allowing persons to maintain contact with family and friends.
  3. HFT has its own database which measures confidence, independence, reassurance, safety.
  4. HFT helps people to be more integrated in the social context.


  1. The fundraising is needed to sustain projects and it depends on private donations that are at risk in periods of economic recession
  2. HFT believes specific training needs to be implemented and that a move from a medical model of care to a social model is necessary.
  3. HFT has experienced some difficulties in developing work with persons affected by Inborn Errors of Metabolism carers and care workers


  1. HFT Workers and Volunteers believe technology is the only thing on offer in relation to the problems of demographics, but the recession has set back the telecare agenda. It is still quite a long way from the original plan to build up telecare as a major way of dealing with change. The technology often frightens potential users who think it is not user friendly. This is also a problem when considering the gatekeepers of the care, and if carers or care workers do not embrace it, it is difficult to get the service user to use it. There is no formal training involved in the technology, so there is no way of overcoming this resistance.


  1. The organisation meets a strict set of standards concerning the quality of care that has to be respected.
  2. More collaboration with Public Authorities has been reached in the last years


  1. HFT would like to provide more personalised services in the future. Different ethnic groups have different needs in relation to care, with some groups’ understanding of disability different from that of traditional services.
  2. HFT has experienced some difficulties in developing work with migrants carers and care workers.HFT has started to look into how ICT-based facilities can be adapted to provide support for migrants groups, but work is at a very early stage. One practical aspect of this is the need to have computer keyboards sensitive to different languages and alphabets.
  3. Engaging care workers with ICT-based facilities was viewed as ‘a constant challenge’, as this approach is not yet part of the core requirements made by regulators and key agencies
  4. HFT believes specific training needs to be implemented and that a move from a medical model of care to a social model is necessary

HFT has installations all over UK (Northern England, Central England, South East England and South West England) and indented to assess them all. As scaling up would be a major initiative, the provider plans to change the organizations and their marketing techniques and focus more on service users than technology. So, to increase the initiative transferability, they are going to invest firstly on the equipment for workers and volunteers rather than on the service users. However, savings should not be the motivation for this work, as HFT believes that if organizations engage this with the idea of creating independence, andsafety in mind, the savings will follow and the initiative could be transferred in other contexts.

More Information
includes contacts, publications and accompanying documents



Schmidt A., Chiatti C., Fry G., Hanson E., Magnusson L,. Socci M, Stückler A., Széman Z., Barbabella F., Hoffmann F. & Lamura G. (2011), Analysis and Mapping of 52 ICT based Initiatives for Caregivers,


Hft (2012), Annual Review, available on

Hft (2013) Family Carer Support Services and Appendices, available on

Hft, Governance structure (2011), available on

Hft, Report and Accounts (2011), available on

Hft, New and events, available on (last access on 17 June 2013)

Yeandle S., Fry G. (2010), The Potential of ICT in Supporting Domiciliary Care in England, available on


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