L'Arche (French for "The Ark") is a place where people with learning disabiliites and others share their lives in a community life. The model enables both carers and cared-for to discover their own authentic adulthood through a mutual process of learning through relationship. In Ipswich there are 13 people with learning disabilities supported in four properties, along with 15 assistants, most of whom live in the community houses. There is also a leadership and administrative team and a local committee who support and steer the life and work of the community.
The people with learning disabilities are usually introduced by their social worker or by family members and are looking for a supported living environment. Most people attend various day programmes and workplaces run by other charities and social enterprises in Ipswich. Most people also pursue personal interests, leisure activity or volunteering. Some are in part-time employment.
L'Arche offers a home for life for those who need and want it. For some, it is a place to learn skills and gain personal experience and confidence to make other choices.
There are a variety of funding mechanisms available depending on individual circumstances. Some are funded via Local Authority assessed fees, some are privately funded and some are funded through personal budgets. L'Arche is able to offer services through the Individual Service Fund and has registered with Suffolk County Council to offer supported living under this scheme.