People's stories

Michelle’s story

Life has transformed for people who moved into supported living after their residential care home closed. Golden Lane Housing worked closely with Leeds Mencap, Mencap and the tenants to purchase and specially adapt two properties within the area.

“It couldn’t have turned out better for everyone!” says Michelle Wilks, scheme manager for Leeds Mencap. “I had worked at the residential care home for over 20 years. We knew it was going to close, and the team spent a lot of time supporting people to understand why they were moving and looking at choices. They were involved every step of the way.

Over the years we’d based the care home around the supported living model. People learnt about living independently, so moving into their own home was the ideal opportunity for everyone to develop their skills further.

We began looking at different housing options, which took time. After speaking to Mencap we got in touch with Golden Lane Housing who could help.

It was important to find out who wanted to live together along with what suited their needs. It was agreed, Diane, Debra, Nigel, Sam and Sam would share and Sandra, Susan, Shane and Sharon would live together.

Golden Lane Housing were great, they listened and worked with us and carried out the adaptations. We worked to a tight deadline, and all the work was completed on time.

Both properties are absolutely fantastic, they are spacious and homely with lovely gardens. It’s great as they’re only round the corner from each other too. Each person chose the wallpaper and colours for their bedrooms. Nearly everyone has an en-suite bathroom or wet room to support with personal hygiene.

The day of the move came. Everyone went out for the day, and I’ll never forget the look on their faces as they walked through the door. They were so thrilled, it was better than their dreams, even though there were boxes everywhere still as unpacking takes time!

Supported living is more personalised. People are getting more time with staff, which has opened up a new world of possibilities. I can already see a difference; people are getting more involved in doing things around the house. They have already decided on a rota for cooking and cleaning!

I’ve noticed people are more relaxed, happier in themselves and their confidence has grown in a short space of time. I went into the upstairs sitting room on the second day, and Sam and Nigel had their jigsaws out already, they just felt so settled and at home.

Most people have decided not to go to day service or reduce the number of times they go each week. Instead, they are looking to do other activities.

The properties are only a couple of miles down the road from where they used to live. It’s ideal as people can still go the activities they enjoy and do their voluntary work. A bus stop is close to the properties so they can easily get around.

It’s so nice; everyone is constantly telling me how much they love it!”