Billy's story

Billy with Ade

Billy moved out of a secure long-stay hospital to live in his own one-bedroom flat in Advance supported living scheme. Billy goes out to the cinema, to theme parks and for meals with support workers and relatives, and enjoys structured personalised support to help with his routines.

This wasn’t always what Billy’s life looked like, however, and when he first came to Advance he was experiencing a lot of anxiety. Billy struggled with his new environment, and would display challenging behaviour – often damaging property and feeling unhappy within himself. With the help of Ade, Billy’s keyworker, and the Complex Needs Team, staff were able to work with Billy to carefully monitor his behaviour and triggers, and develop clear structures to help with his anxiety around the changing of routines.

In Billy’s flat, the Complex Needs service has introduced simple methods using picture cards for staff to show Billy what is happening ‘now’ and what is happening ‘next’. Simple images of the garden, local shops, travelling on the bus or going to a restaurant help Billy to understand and make choices about activities.

Through working with Billy in the same way over a period of months and gaining his trust, staff noticed a decline in his challenging behaviour, with PBS records confirming the same. Billy has responded brilliantly to this system.

Staff began to encourage Billy to take small steps towards greater independence and a better quality of life. "As his confidence grew, he began to take an interest in the outside world and want to do more things for himself. For example he started to do his own laundry and leaving his flat to sit in the garden."

Additional small steps followed with trips to the local shops and nearby restaurants. Billy then began to take trips further afield by public transport and in taxis. At first this was difficult as Billy was easily distracted by other passengers or could become anxious if the taxi or bus was caught in traffic for some time. Gradually he got used to going out, to delays and to other people being around.

"Now we go out every day, planning what we will do together beforehand. Sometimes it is just for a walk in the local area.

Last week we went to see Men in Black at the multiplex in Peckham and yesterday we went out for a meal in Bexley. On our trips to central London Billy liked walking along the South Bank and taking a spin on the London Eye."

Billy’s Mother lives nearby and visits every week. Billy’s Dad lives on the Isle of Sheppey, slightly further away, and visits a little less often.

Billy had his first ever overnight stay in 2019, when he travelled to Margate with Ade and fellow Support Worker, James.

Billy is now planning a two-day holiday. He will travel with Ade and another worker to stay on the Isle of Sheppey so he can be near to his Dad. If this is successful, longer trips will be planned for the future.

To read more Life Stories click here