Learning Disabilities & Autism Real Lives

Championing in sport, Championing in life!

Rory at Clover Court, Lowestoft

After an exciting summer of sporting success – including the Euros, Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Paralympics – here Sanctuary Supported Living shares some outstanding achievements from one of their residents, not only in sport, but in living life to its fullest.

Rory, 34, moved into his own apartment within a supported housing service for people with physical disabilities, in 2019. He was previously living with his family in Lowestoft, but he wanted to have a home of his own, and his family were supportive of him living more independently.

Following a head injury as a child, Rory has a physical disability on his left side and moderate learning difficulties. Despite the challenges he faces, Rory is a keen sportsman, with martial arts as his passion.

In 2017, he travelled to Florida as part of Team GB to compete in the World Martial Arts Games, becoming the first person with a disability to compete at the games in their 11-year existence. He specialises in Krav Maga, which combines techniques from boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo and realistic fight training, and returned home from the Games with an impressive haul of three gold medals.

Covid-19 restrictions meant that Rory was not able to continue his martial arts training, due to it being a close-contact sport and needing a sparring partner. Instead, Sanctuary Supported Living staff encouraged Rory to focus his efforts on a different type of art, supporting him to join S.O.L.D (Special Objectives for Local Disabled) – a community group providing access and opportunities for people with disabilities to work on their own or community art projects. Rory has made lots of friends through the group and is currently making dreamcatchers which he will sell for charity.

Rory has two dedicated keyworkers at Clover Court, who support him to find ways to live as independently as possible, by building his self-confidence and helping him to gain practical life skills. Rory’s outgoing personality, and love of arts (both sporting and crafting) are actively supported, as he proves that having a disability is no barrier to sporting or life achievements.

Before he moved to Sanctuary’s supported housing service, his family would take care of all the cooking, cleaning and shopping on his behalf, but thanks to dedicated support and guidance from his keyworkers, Rory has become much more independent and self-sufficient in this area of his life. He particularly enjoys researching new recipes online, shopping for the ingredients with a member of staff, and then putting his new-found cooking skills to the test, to rustle up a tasty meal.

Rory said: “It has been very good living here. I like it because the staff are all very supportive, and I know my needs are being met.”

He is looking forward to getting back into his Krav Maga training again in the near future, and is currently involved in a local project which will see classes delivering training for street defence techniques to disabled adults.

David Perkins, Local Service Manager added: “We’re all proud of everything Rory has achieved, how he has become much more independent in his daily living skills and has become a part of the community here at Clover Court. He’s achieved so much, his World Championship medals show off his sporting achievements and we know that as normality resumes, Rory will continue to build on his sporting achievements and personal achievements – bringing joy to those around him and living his life to the full”.

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