Innovation Exchange

Cherry Road Resource Centre


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

Midlothian Council’s Cherry Road Resource Centre offers tailored and personalised experiences supporting adults with learning disabilities and adults with autism.  Formerly a resource centre based on a more traditional model of care, the service recast itself in collaboration with leading arts and disabilities organisation, Artlink.  This enabled the service to develop imaginative and enriching experiences for people, forging partnerships with innovators such as Phoebe Caldwell and internationally-renowned institutions such as the University of Edinburgh and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  This has significantly improved how the service supports people with very complex needs, leading to sustained positive change and contributing to reduced use of health and care services.

Theme: Health and Social Care

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Staff, artists families, care workers and invited specialists  use artistic activity to explore the inner worlds of people with complex and profound learning disability


They use a distinctive mix of pragmatism and creativity supported by a value relationship-driven approach


They interpret different ways of being through unique artworks that positively impact on the lives of individuals.


They observe responses including small and intricate ones, and take time to reflect and to understand each person


They develop buildings that sing, machines that warp time and a device that can give someone – perhaps for the very first time – the ability to alter their world,

New creative and collaborative models of practice emerge.


People’s sensory worlds are opened up and different ways of interacting and caring emerge.


People who are marginalised from more mainstream activity have significantly  enhanced sensory worlds and interactions.


Care and spport staff learn new ways of understanding, interacting with and supporting people.

 Time needs to be spent to think about infrastructure and ethos


Open-ended responsiveness is difficult to build in today’s funding climate where the outcomes of temporally fixed projects have to be defined in advance. For this reason the relationship with supporters and the commitment of funders is critical, Understanding and shared beliefs that the necessary momentum can be generated to build pioneering working methodologies.


It is important to give relationships the time to grow and the experience-based knowledge gained to actively inform long cycles of work. Progress is measured in minute increments. Time is understood very differently to other support situations


We need to make progress at people’s pace. In order to do anything meaningful in this context, it is critical to have time for ideas to slowly incubate and develop.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Alison White

Head of Adults

Midlothian Council

0131 271 3283

Case study added to site: June 2016

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