A CHARITY which helps people with learning disabilities to live more independently has been branded 'inadequate' by a health watchdog.

Valley Supported Living (VSL), based in Waterfoot, Rossendale, supports adults with learning and physical disabilities make the transition from the family home to homes of their own.

But the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the Bridge Street-based service was failing when it came to being safe and its leadership.

It also requires improvement for its effectiveness, care and responsiveness.

The inspection took place over three days in June and saw an inspector speak to four trustees, the interim manager, seven support staff and one agency staff, while they also spoke with five people in their own homes and with five parents, two of whom were trustees of the charity operating the service.

The CQC observed good relationships between people using the service and staff, while people were found to have lived in comfortable, clean and well maintained environments, and that appropriate aids and adaptations had been provided to help maintain their safety, independence and comfort.

However the service was found to be 'not safe' and 'not well-led.'

A report said: "The level of risk to people's safety had not always been assessed, recorded or kept up to date.

"Support visits had been missed as there were insufficient numbers of suitably experienced staff available to meet people's needs.

"People's medicines were not always managed safely."

In a statement, the trustees of VSL said the charity is 'striving to achieve a positive outcome, and have at the heart of everything they do, the care and safeguarding of vulnerable adults.'

They said: "Whilst we have undergone recent upheaval due to moving, interim management and staffing, we welcome the CQC’s report, findings and advice for management improvements and are working closely with all agencies (especially the CQC and Lancashire County Council) to ensure these are actioned swiftly, effectively and with no further disruption to the care provision."

Set-up in 2004, VSL supports seven people with learning disabilities, with all aspects of daily living, such as personal care, medication, cooking and cleaning, finances and leisure activities, and tailors the amount of care to the individual’s needs.

The charity, run by a group of trustees including parent trustees, was based in Bacup until last summer when it relocated to Bridge End House, the former Waterfoot library building.