Hi my name is Chris and I moved from my home that I shared with my mum into Goodwins supported living with four other Tenants. This was a house that was supported 24 hours a day. I spent 2 years here learning the skills to move into a flat of my own with less support of 20hrs per week. My next goal is to move to Cambridge to be closer to my fiancé. Here are some of the ways that supported living has enabled me to achieve these goals.
- I got used to planning a weekly menu and making a shopping list. From this I was supported to stick to a budget whilst shopping.
- I started off by using a visual aid for shopping which was a photo key ring with the picture of the item on. Eventually I was able to recognise the wording and started to work from a list. Now that I am living on my own and am having to be on a tighter budget I now take a calculator and add up as I go along.
- One of the important things for me to move on was having the ability to cook healthy meals for myself and not to rely on quick easy meals. Within my time at the house I was supported to cook many different meals and took pictures of each step to create my own recipe book. This is something that I have taken with me so that I can continue to cook independently for myself. I also suffered from IBS but through talking and understanding with the staff I was able to change my diet which has eased this.
- Pictorial based communication aids have really helped.
Staying Safe and Well:
- I was supported to be actively involved within the safety of my own home and was always reminded to take part in checking the smoke alarms each week and checking that the windows and doors all shut and lock. I continue to check the alarm once a week in my own flat and I have a note on the back of my door to remind me to lock it.
- I was supported to gain confidence in dealing with the public and would always carry my mobile phone to ring if I needed support and would come straight to staff if there were any issues.
- When I first came to live at Goodwins I was forgetting to take some of my medication. I wanted to keep my independence as much as possible so my medication was put into blister packs and I would sign when I had taken them. For the first few weeks staff would prompt me to take my medication, they then just checked after my night time medication to eventually me managing to take my medication myself and just needing to be reminded when to put my next prescription in.
- I built up some good relationships with my fellow peers whilst living at Goodwins through our social events such as BBQ’s, Christmas party and many more activities. From these events I was then supported to follow up on the friendships I felt would enrich my life and do independent activities with these peers.
- Throughout my time at Goodwins staff built up trust with me so that I would come and speak to them at any time about any issues that may be troubling me and I would often ask for a certain member of staff to talk to which the others would respect.
Being a Good Tenant:
- I was taken through my tenancy in a way that I understood. There was a Tenants’ meeting that was held once a week where all Tenants could discuss any issues that they may have. Also during this time staff would talk to Tenants if any issues had arisen that may hinder their tenancy agreement, such as smoking in their bedrooms.
- I was supported to pay my rent by setting up a direct debit for the 1st of each month and would report repairs to the staff who would contact the landlord. When the landlord came staff encouraged me to explain to him what the problem was. Now that I am in a flat of my own I will call staff to report any problems who will then support me to contact my estate agency.
- I first came with very little money and in debt. Staff supported me to apply for all the correct benefits and worked alongside my social worker to get rid of the debt.
- Staff sat and worked out a weekly budget for me and talked me through this. It took into consideration all my bills, spending money for the week and saving. Through this I was not only able to pay my bills but I manage to save money to support me to achieve my next goal of living in a flat of my own.
- Staff would sit and discuss with me any decisions that I needed to make regarding my finances such as if I wanted to go to the cinema, they would remind me that it would not leave me any money for the rest of the week and what did I have planned that may need money. I would then look at my week and decide if going to the cinema was affordable for me that week.
Accessing Other Services:
- Staff will prompt me to make health appointments and will attend any that I feel I need support with. I will make these appointments whilst staff are present in case I get muddled and will ask for them to speak to staff in this instance.
- Staff have worked alongside several different agencies to get me into voluntary placements to gain the skills needed for employment. I have also been doing casual bank work. Staff supported me to access the local job centre to look for and apply for jobs.
- Staff will always give options of activities to me making sure that I have an informed choice to be able to make a decision.
- I would like to move to Cambridge in the future to be with my fiancé. Staff are working towards goals with me so that I am comfortable with the running of my flat and also visiting the area so that in a few years when the move happens I will be knowledgeable with what is available to me there.