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Living independently has changed Leanne’s life. She lives with three friends in Essex and has been supported by Mencap for four years.
“Leanne was living at home with her Mum before she moved into supported living,” says Nancy Bracken, support worker. “I’ve supported her over many years and seen the impact living independently has had on her, and in her life.
When Mencap first started supporting Leanne, she wouldn’t leave the house for any longer than half an hour, and that was a struggle. She was quite nervous. She’d only ever eat meatballs and hotdogs.
Slowly we introduced fresh food and helped her to build confidence. It has taken many years, and although she still gets nervous she goes out to lunch on a Monday, and will get the bus or taxi to places.
Leanne lives with Tina, Ann and Georgina. They lived at another property first of all. Leanne and Tina have become best friends. Their bedrooms were opposite each other and would spend a lot of time chatting.
The house was quite small and the lounge was the main room. Having limited space did affect them and the only place they could go to spend time alone was in their bedroom.
When they were told Golden Lane Housing could buy them a bungalow using the bond monies, they couldn’t wait. GLH made quite a few changes, now it’s perfect for them. It’s so spacious, and there are more rooms. Everything in the house has been chosen by them, the colour the walls, the wallpaper, and flooring. There were many shopping trips for new beds, bedding, furniture, other accessories for the bathrooms and glittery things.
Leanne’s bedroom is upstairs, she’s got an ensuite bathroom and there’s a separate room which she’s going to make into her lounge. She’s had her bedroom painted pink and the matching things make it look lovely. Generally the TV and music player are always on at the same time because that’s what she likes. Every day she lays her collection of DVDs on the bed.
This move has really helped her, she’s more relaxed and happier in herself. She’s got everything around her just as she wants it. She’ll spend time in her room or with the others; they tend to congregate in the kitchen. Having the space means everyone can be together or go into the other rooms if they want to. Georgina tends to go in the room at the back to listen to her music. As there is a sofa in there too the others sometimes join her.
Leanne knows the area because it’s close to where they used to live; in fact she’s off to the theatre shortly with Tina.
I can’t believe how far she has come and her confidence is still growing, it’s fabulous. In the past, Leanne would only agree to do her weekly shopping at the nearest corner shop and trips to big supermarkets would make her physically ill. Her sister used to do her clothes shopping, now staff support Leanne and she picks the clothes herself. Leanne has been shopping for furniture a few times and stayed in a hotel on two occasions.”
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