No Limits was launched as a new service, challenging traditional methods of supporting learners by providing education, and leisure. Working in partnership initially with Oxfordshire County Council, MacIntyre built a community-based programme aimed at young people over the age of 16. No Limits was created to meet the needs of learners with severe autistic spectrum disorders, providing an individual and flexible programme of learning and support, enabling the needs of the young people to be met within their local community. By the end of the decade, No Limits had recruited and trained teams of professionals to work closely with individual learners, to provide individualized person centred programme for young people and their families. The focus of No Limits since its origins is on ‘learning through doing’, combined with rigorous assessment and constant monitoring and progress tracking. In 2009, the Department of Health awarded MacIntyre a prestigious Innovation Grant to extend its No Limits transition service to Warrington for people with severe autistic spectrum disorders.
Natalie Macpherson Remembers...
I remember being asked to oversee the development and growth of our No Limits provision in 2008. We had been successful in supporting 4 young men in Oxfordshire and MacIntyre thought that we should further our offer to other authorities. After all, the young people supported by us had achieved excellent outcomes so why wouldn’t we?! After a year of hard work, negotiating with Local Authorities for learners for the following September it got to July and we didn’t have funding for any young people agreed. In addition our original 4 young people were about to leave us! Sam Collier and I sat in a room discussing the fact that we would probably be out of jobs but kept telling ourselves that our hard work and determination would mean that ‘everything would be fine’!
By the end of July we had just over 20 young people agreed which as you can imagine then presented a different challenge…. We certainly wouldn’t be short of work!
No Limits has come a long way since then. We’ve provided education and support for over 250 young people and we currently employ 242 people. We work in over 20 Local Authorities and with 12 college and school partners. We’ve won awards for our approach and are regularly used as examples of good practise in publications and government policy the icing on the cake is seeing the fantastic outcomes for the young people we provide for, enabling them to live and learn locally and make successful transitions to their adult lives.