I’ve been working with some of the people Scope supports to live independently in the community, whatever their support needs. I wanted to share a few of their stories.
When I met 24-year-old Elliot at his home in Hereford, a bungalow he shares with two friends around his age, he was in a bit of a hurry. He had an interview that morning to volunteer at a local hospice.
“I work at a charity shop in Hereford. I want to get more jobs or voluntary work, just to keep ticking over,” he told me.
“I’m hoping to do a National Diploma at the shop, and then when I’ve done voluntary work for a while I’ll hopefully move up slowly.”
Elliot has cerebral palsy and autism. He’s a full-time wheelchair user, and has lived in a shared house for the past six years, working with Scope support workers.
His parents helped him find the place he’s in now when he was 18, and he says he hasn’t looked back since. He started out with a few dinners and overnight stays, and soon decided to make the move full-time.
“A few weeks after I moved in, my mum came to visit and she was like, ‘Wow! It’s a new Elliot!’”
Choice and control
Scope delivers Elliot’s care – which he pays for with his personal social care budget – and that of his housemates, but Elliot is a tenant in the house. This gives him choice and control over the way he lives. He could move out if he wanted to, or change his support provider.
There’s a support worker in the house 24 hours a day. The three housemates pay for this together. Elliot also has a one-to-one support worker during the day.
“Obviously we have our ups and downs, like everyone, but I love the guys here. Scope is very special to me, because they help me achieve what I want to do.
“I go everywhere with a support worker, but we’re trying to get me green on the traffic lights system [a road safety programme] so I can go out on my own – into town, into work.”
‘The best experience’
Elliot’s interest in charity fundraising led him to do a 14,000-foot tandem skydive to raise money for his local air ambulance. He single-handedly raised more than £1,100.
“It was the best experience of my life. I was harnessed to Jason – I couldn’t have done it without him. It’s not easy to find somewhere that caters for people with disabilities – I had to ring round all over the country.
When they put me in the harness, I was like ‘Here we go…’, but once we jumped I didn’t even feel nervous when I looked down. It was absolutely amazing. The whole family came to watch.”
I met people with a range of impairments. Elliot mostly needs support with staying safe in the outside world, but others have more complex needs. I’ll share some of those stories next week.
Find out more about Scope’s community support services.