Highland Self Directed Support Services (Highland SDS)

Highland SDS is a consortium of three partner organisations, who came together, (originally with Birchwood Highland) in 2013 to develop a project in response to the new legislation. We were keen to develop local solutions for people living in Highland who wanted advice, information, support and training in how to use and manage their SDS budget. The lead organisation for the project is Cantraybridge College, funded by Scottish Government, and is managed by Shirley Buchanan. People First Highland is the operational partner with responsibility for delivering training; Health and Happiness is responsible for the community journalism and research, (through the TILIS project).

A cornerstone of the project has been recruiting and training Peer Advisors – these are paid positions for people with learning disabilities. Our Peer Advisors are Em Grant, Ruth Macauley and John Gallon, who have years of experience, not only as supported people, but as professionals in delivering training and writing stories of Highland experiences. We believe that people who use health and social care services are the cornerstone of our capacity building approach and have helped people to feel that their views and contributions are valued. In other words, we work hard to ensure that the mantra of choice, flexibility and control are fully embedded within our decision-making, idea development and support systems.


The project includes the following workstreams :-

  • To develop a brokerage service for Highland
  • To provide advice, information and signposting to people in Highland about SDS.
  • To raise awareness of SDS across Highland and the 4 options
  • To deliver training to health and social care professionals, carers and individuals about SDS, from the ‘lived experience’ viewpoint of service users
  • To research experiences of SDS in Highland and gather stories, which are published and disseminated for shared learning.
  • Visit the Highland SDS website www.highlandsds.org and find us on  Facebook