Co-Production Learning Disabilities & Autism Real Lives

Creating my own path towards independent living


By Theas with support from Michelle Cox-Coley, Operations Director, Holmleigh Care

Emma, who is the manager of where I live at Holmleigh, had spoken to me about creating my own person centered path. It was something that I really wanted to try. A path is a way of working together to set goals for the future, then working out the steps you need to take to make the dream happen.

We started by sitting down together with a huge piece of paper and plenty of colourful pens. Emma asked me to think about what I wanted to achieve in the future. She asked questions to help me to think about the steps that I needed to take and the support I needed to get there. She didn’t take over, we came up with all the ideas together – but it was my path based on my goals.

I put my goal of living independently on my path. I knew that there were some steps that I needed to take before that can happen, including cooking, travelling independently and volunteering, so we wrote them down too. We then thought about what I needed to do to improve those skills.

I knew I needed to learn to cook but I’ve never really wanted to. So we chatted about what motivates me and I decided that each month I would choose a country and cook their local dishes, then create my own cooking show on social media. I have done Italy, Chinese and now I am doing American – I have my meat marinating today ready to cook tomorrow!

With support from staff, I choose a recipe, prepare it and then post photos and video to social. I am a big fan of social media so this has really helped to keep me focussed. I’m now a much more confident cook and one step closer to my goal. I’ve also had mum and dad over for lunch and motivated other people to start cooking too – they are very proud of me.

It was really important to me that my path and my journey was shared. I wanted to show people that, just because I am in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I can’t do new things and take control of my life. If it encourages everyone to work together towards their dreams then that can only be a good thing!

Michelle, Operations Manager

“We never cease to be amazed by the tenacity and creativeness of people we support and this has been a great example of how Theas has co-produced her care and is well on her way to achieving her goals.

“Crucially, Theas was very keen that we share her journey with others to show them the power of using a visual tool and supporting people to lead the process as much as possible. Doing this allows us to move conversations from serious planning meetings to fun sessions which allow us to dream big and really explore how to make goals achievable. By sharing her story, Theas is paving the way to ensuring that all of our support planning is true co-production.

“Theas’ dream has evolved from the original path to more creative ideas to make it real and feel achievable, breaking it down into to measurable steps. She has shown us in very real terms the benefits of co-production. She’s shown how giving ourselves permission to dream can give us a real sense of purpose and can do attitude. Her zest for life and commitment to her path is inspirational to others who need support – as well as being a blueprint for success for our support teams.”

Emma, Home Manager

“The journey Theas has come on since moving to Holmleigh makes me burst with pride. She is a very caring and sociable lady, who loves to try new things. Theas’ confidence and independence has grown and I have seen her shine in the last 12 months. Her achievements and willingness to share her story is having a positive impact on others and inspiring them to try new things.”

Edel Harris





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