L’Arche Highland’s Housing Support Service, has been rated “Excellent” by the Care Inspectorate, following an inspection in January 2023. The Grade 6 score, awarded for the level of compassion, dignity and respect of the service, is the highest possible in Scottish social care. 

As well as “visible, confident and competent” leadership, the inspectors praised the “strong ethos of community and respect for people” in the service.  

The outstanding achievement comes amidst a crisis of funding and vision in social care, with many providers across the country struggling to recover after Covid and over 160,000 vacancies in the sector. Registered Manager Lorraine MacKenzie, commented: 

“This is amazing, having come through the pandemic and all of the recruitment challenges we face, that we have been assessed to be delivering excellent care and support to the people we support. It is a testament to the resilience and commitment shown by our staff teams over the last couple of years that the quality of care has not faltered.” 

L’Arche Highland started in Inverness nearly fifty years ago, to showcase the contributions adults with learning disabilities can make to society. They belong to the International L’Arche Federation, a life-sharing movement of adults with and without learning disabilities, including over 150 Communities in 37 countries. Today, the Highland Community offers housing and work opportunities to around fifty adults with learning disabilities.  

L’Arche Highland Leader, Chris Gehrke, who joined one year ago, celebrated his team’s achievement, while pointing to the distinctive ethos of the organisation: 

“When I joined L’Arche I immediately felt that there is something special about L’Arche. I have found that to be about the depth and quality of relationships, a sense of belonging that goes beyond inclusion and the joys of community life. I am really proud our staff have been given the highest possible grade for the excellent compassion, dignity and respect they give to our Core Members”.