1. ITV Report

Investigation launched into welfare of residents at dedicated autistic centre

Police are investigating allegations surrounding the welfare of residents at Britain's first specialist centre for autistic people.

Officers launched the investigation at Somerset Court near Burnham-on-Sea, which is run by the National Autistic Society.

Somerset Court Credit: ITV West Country

The allegations centre on Mendip House, one of the purpose-built bungalows on site.

Parents and carers were informed at the earliest possible opportunity, and are being kept up-to-date with progress on the investigations and the changes that are already being put in place to ensure the people living in our service are cared for to the highest standard.

This is our primary concern, and we are doing everything necessary to ensure they are properly supported.

– National Autistic Society, spokesperson

Somerset Court is set in 26 acres of land near Burnham and is home to both residential and day services.

  • There are seven purpose-built houses at Somerset Court, enabling people to live ordinary day-today lives in small groups, with the help of specialist staff.
  • Mendip House is a purpose-built bungalow with shared living areas, such as a lounge, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and garden.
  • On its website the site says it boasts a 'person-centred approach' with each resident given their own tailored programme of activities and support.
  • Residents have a key worker and a link worker who work closely with them, learning about their ambitions and helping them to achieve their goals. Family, carers, friends and staff are all included in the planning process.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they were investigating the allegations surrounding the welfare of residents at Mendip House.

They added it was still at an early stage and declined to comment any further.