Each month we feature an inspirational individual or team who overcome barriers to make a real difference in their communities. This month we see how two life-long friends were supported to remain together by a team at Brandon Trust.
When two men with learning disabilities arrived at Mayfield Supported Living last year, they had no personal belongings and only very basic information relating to their support needs. In addition, they were in poor health and poor hygiene. They were shy and unsure of themselves.
Having known each other since they were eight and living together for 30 years, the move had the potential to be traumatic. The Mayfield team were determined to enable the friends to stay together.
Providing high-quality, person-centred support that goes beyond the basics and enables people to accomplish their dreams is high on the care agenda. As home to adults with learning disabilities, autism or both, Mayfield, a Brandon Trust supported living service, is committed to achieving this.
With a consistent approach and gentle reassurance, the team helped the two men to understand the importance of health and hygiene. Both men now take pride in themselves and their appearance. They’ve gained in confidence and fully participate in activities.
Brandon helped them buy the essentials and the Mayfield team helped them settle in. By implementing support plans and risk assessments, they were able to promote independence and choice. Staff empowered them to make their own decisions and helped them find the confidence to do so.
Kathryn Skinner, Locality Manager, told us: “Their journey has been difficult, but they’ve settled in so well. This is testament both to them and the hard work and determination of the team. The transformation is amazing; they’re happier than ever. They’re finally ‘living a life’.”
Planning for the future
The people who live at Mayfield are a diverse group with a whole range of interests. They complement each other and have created a happy home with the excellent support of their staff team. Over time the men have built friendships with their housemates and developed positive trusting relationships with the staff team supporting them. They are both now assertive and confident in making choices about how they live and what they choose to do.
One of the two men said: “I love living here. I’m really happy and I get to do lots of things. I can go out every day doing things I like. I didn’t do much before. I have lots of fun with the staff, I feel safe here. I know my friend is happy here, he can’t tell you, but I know he’s happy as well.”
Soon after they moved in, it became apparent they had not been on holiday since they were young children. The staff could see that this was something they both wanted to do and wanted to help the men achieve this. Staff helped them to apply to Brandon’s Dream Fund (a pot of money which enables the people they support to achieve their aspirations), which made the holiday possible.
The man concluded: “I’m looking forward to going on holiday to London. I’m going to the theatre. I’ve never been before, it’s going to be good. I bought a shirt and trousers to wear; I can’t wait!”
“Having lived together for 30 years, the move had the potential to be traumatic.”
“They’re finally living a life.”