Essex Care Consortium - Individual Empowerment

Sports day pic
Supporting the Mongolian rally

Making music

The Vines
Swimming at our Colchester site

Beach day out

Sean and Chris

Jeff making tea

Student cutting grass

Wildlife experience
Chris and his family




Contact details

Katrina Lingley - General Manager

Pat Owen – Assistant General Manager

Tel: 01206 330308
Fax: 01206 331811

Colchester Site:
Lakshmi Thotapalli – Registered Manager
Tel: 01206330308
Fax: 01206331811

Marks Tey Site:
Jo Churchill – Registered Manager
Tel: 01206 211825

Plume Avenue
Natalie Schofiled - Registered Manager
Tel: 01206 563149

Access Day Centre
Jackie Strohm
Tel: 01206 330308
Fax: 01206 331811

Assistant Manager
Calli Black
Tel: 01206330308
Fax: Fax : 01206331811

About Essex Care Consortium Ltd

Our Philosophy, Aims and Objectives

Essex Care Consortium is an independent, therapeutic resource registered with The Care Quality Commission – our main site is at Birch, near Colchester, Essex. We provide a wide range of specialist residential care and day services for people with learning disabilities, who have complex needs aged 18 and above. We are also a City & Guilds Approved Centre, providing training for Social Care staff.

Established in 1971, we have over forty five years experience of working alongside young people and adults who have learning disabilities, supporting them in coming to terms with both their learning disabilities and the impact of any additional emotional trauma, or mental health issues within their lives. This is achieved through the development of appropriate living and working environments that facilitate the personal growth necessary for self-fulfilment and empowerment.


We are trained to support people Differing Complex Needs within our Care environments. We are able to offer specialist support with a wide range of issues including:

  • Autism
  • Impaired Communication
  • Asperges Syndrome
  • Behaviour that challenges
  • Emotional trauma
  • Abuse
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer's/Dementia
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Prader Willi Syndrome
  • Mental Health issues
  • Personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Food allergies

Essex Care Consortium has three residential sites:

‘Essex Care Consortium Ltd: Colchester’
This is our main site located near Birch, which is ten minutes outside Colchester town. We have two residential houses: ‘Cedar’ and ‘Birch’, and six beautiful spacious single service registered flats: ‘The Loft’, Garden Flat and ‘Tree Corner’.


Access Learning Centre and our Accredited City and Guilds Centre ‘PiP’ (Principals In Practice) are also based on the Colchester site, and housed in separate buildings from the residential care.


Access takes students with learning disabilities from the wider communities of Colchester, Braintree and Maldon as well as from our three residential sites.


‘PiP’ offers a broad range of training across the Health and Care sector. For details see our section on Training Courses.


Our head office and main administration is also based on the Colchester site, which provides administration, maintenance, learning, training and leisure support and facilities across the whole organization.


‘Essex Care Consortium Ltd: Marks Tey’
Our Marks Tey site has two further residential bungalows: ‘The Laurels’ and ‘The Vines’ and an independent registered flat, ‘Station Rd. Flat’.


‘Essex Care Consortium Ltd : Prettygate’
Our Prettgate site is a four-bedded registered house in Plume Avenue, Prettygate, five minutes from Colchester centre by car.

This unique setting enables people who live here to experience considerable personal space and freedom in surroundings that are conducive to the proves of growth, development and healing
Our principle aims are to empower and promote the personal autonomy of the people we work alongside. We acknowledge and uphold the intrinsic value of each person as a unique individual. We believe that all people should be accorded an equal degree of acceptance, personal freedom and opportunity for individual growth and development, regardless of their perceived physical, intellectual or emotional ability. We recognise this has not always been the experience of people who have a learning disability, many of whom have historically experienced additional and disempowering burdens of social inequality, segregation, prejudice, personal trauma and mistreatment.

In our experience, people with learning disabilities who constantly present behaviours that challenge or who struggle to reach achievable goals, frequently have additional unidentified problems or issues that underline their difficulties. These stumbling blocks are either simply unrecognisable or more often hidden within the generic diagnosis of their particular disability.

We are committed to helping clients identify and address any unrecognised issue or difficulty that is a cause of distress, which in turn will help to empower the person to make informed decisions affecting their current and future life. We are committed to a high degree of social and developmental interaction with our clients and our Inclusive Communication Environment, Our communication team focuses on developing the communication and language skills of our clients and staff in all aspects of our provision. The organization is registered with the National Autistic Society (NAS) to express our commitment to supporting people with autistic spectrum disorders.We are committed to helping service users uncover and identify the reasons behind obstacles and barriers

For many years we have been actively involved in promoting equal rights for the people we work alongside, being both instrumental in bringing about change and contributing on many levels to the wider process of reform. This work includes involvement at local level with many committees and organisations and consultation work for national bodies such as the General Social Care Council.

The Management Team

The Director of Essex Care Consortium is Bethan who bring significant experience from the fields of residential care, therapy and education. Bethan Oliver BSc has Diplomas in Counseling and Health and Social Welfare and is an authority on therapeutic work with people who have learning disabilities, specialising in trauma and behaviour that challenges. She is the founder of ‘Principles in Practice’, our accredited training centre.

All our managers have extensive experience and a long-standing commitment to the organisation. They have generally been with us for between 10 to 20 years: Katrina Lingley - General Manager and ‘Nominated Individual’ for the organisation overseas all sites, Pat Owen is the Assistant General Manager. Lakshmi Thotapalli is the Registered Manager for the Colchester site. Natalie Schofield is the Registered Manager for Plume Avenue. Jo Churchill is the Registered Manager for our Marks Tey Site. Jackie Strohm is Manager for Access Day Resource and Calli Black is the Assistant Manager. Diana Sonnex and Natalie Schofieldare Assistant Managers within the organisation. Our HR Manager is Lynne Simmons. Our Finance Dept. is Headed by Lina Lazdauskaite. And our Admin team are Jacqui Hall and Michelle Leswell and Mick Allport is our Maintinance Manager.

This management team offers a valuable continuity for clients, staff and parents as well as providing a broad and extensive range of practical experience, individual expertise and commitment in the areas of Social Work and Care Management. They have taken courses in Adult Safeguarding, Education, Inclusive Communication, Physical Intervention, Medication and Mental Health Issues.
Our aim is to communicate effectively, and the team meets informally on a weekly basis and holds a formal management meeting once a month. Written reports are submitted by each house manager for discussion together with minutes from client meetings. Minutes from management meetings are submitted to clients and staff in appropriate forms, to enhance communication and encourage staff and client representatives to discuss and respond to organisational issues.

Staffing and training

All our resources are well staffed enabling an individual, person-centred and needs-led approach to care. All employees are carefully selected and are checked for barring with the Independent Safeguarding Authority and are DBS checked.

We prioritise training and all staff are trained to the National Care Standards requirements. Each individual completes an extensive recorded induction period in line with the National Care Certificate. Further training is provided on a regular basis by ‘Principles in Practice ’. and other external training bodies. Staff training includes: City Guilds Accredited QCF Diplomas Levels 2, 3 and 5, Inclusive Communication, SOVA (Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults), First Aid, Health and Safety, Fire Safety and Evacuation, Basic Food and Hygiene, Health and Safety, Lifting and Handling, Boots MDS, Breakaway and Physical Intervention, Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Standards.

A Manager supports each Department and two members of the Management Team are always on 24-hour on-call, available to clients, staff, relatives and Social Workers. Bethan is also available should the need arise. Each house has its’ own individual staff structure including a Manager, Assistant Manager, Shift Leader and Support Workers and ancillary staff.

Investor in people & BSI registeredAchieving Quality Care

We believe that having the highest quality care is an absolute right of every client. We believe that no matter how good the present services are there is always room for improvement.

At Essex Care Consortium we pride ourselves on the professionalism of our work underpinned by a caring approach measured by constant monitoring and auditing - a process that is fully inclusive of our clients needs and opinions. We are proud of our ISO9001/2015 status and our Positive about Disability Award.

If you are interested in more detailed information on our staff policies, training, protection of clients, safety and security measures, placements, care planning, specialist input and support, key working, Care Reviews, and links with families, friends and representatives, then please contact us for a copy of our Statement of Purpose.