A SUPPORT service for people with with learning disabilities has been rated “outstanding” by a health watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission praised Peabody, which runs services across north Essex.

It is the first out of 700 providers in Essex and one of only 20 in the country to score the top rating.

Peabody supports about 150 people to live in their own homes.

Inspectors found the service was safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

The report said staff were “exceptionally caring” and it said they “often went the extra mile to support people to live their best lives”.

It added: “Disability was not viewed as a barrier to people accessing all potential opportunities, rather it was a challenge to find ways to support people to live in the way they wanted.”

One example was Sebastian Zietarski who has cerebral palsy, a learning disability and very high care needs.

The service provides round the clock support and works with the NHS and others to help people like Seb live life to the full.

Thanks to the support he has received, he has had regular sessions at Willow Park resource centre in Weeley, attended concerts, takes regular trips to the seaside, goes on long countryside walks and is accessing public transport including trains.

He also now has a Colchester Zoo annual pass and has become a regular visitor.

Seb’s brother, Patryk, said: “The selflessness and dedication of Peabody in caring for Seb was inspiring and a huge help for us.

“It was incredible to witness their motivation and determination to improve his life as well as taking the time to understand his personality and interests and using that to create an environment that Seb enjoys. We are so grateful to Seb’s carers who, with huge hearts, have been there for him and we, as well as Seb, consider them a second family.”

Charlotte Appleby, Peabody’s registered manager in Essex, said she was proud of the whole team.

She said: “Our role here is first and foremost to make sure our people are safe and well cared for.

“But what the team have achieved is so much more than that; helping people live the best possible lives in a happy environment takes a level of dedication and compassion that money can’t buy.

“To say I am proud of them is such an understatement but being part of the only team in Essex to receive this rating should go some way to helping them realise how wonderful they are.”