Stephen's story

Stephen lives in an Advance property where he also receives our support. The new-build property, opened in 2017, is made up of eight one bedroom flats with a communal space. Customers living in the property have a mixture of mental health conditions and learning disabilities.

Customers receive an element of personal support based on their needs but also access to pooled support 24/7 based in a garden room / pod in the grounds separate to the main building. This approach offers customers access to support 24/7 but also their own front door as a platform to increased independence.

Stephen was born in Plymouth, his early years were spent in care and he has lived in various parts of Cornwall for most of his adult life. He suffers from anxiety and has a learning disability. He also has a number of physical health problems which he has dealt with for a number of years. For twenty-five years he lived a relatively stable life in a supported housing property in the area. There he had his own room but shared all other facilities. Due to a number of circumstances a situation arose where his housing provider was only able to provide Stephen with support from other agencies. Stephen’s health needs and support needs were such that it was felt that his support and housing needed a more holistic approach made possible by using one provider. It was felt that this would ensure consistent support and make sure he was able to successfully maintain his own home and achieve the level of independence he sought. Stephen is just the type of person the property was designed to support. We worked closely with local commissioners to help design the service to deliver support in a new way. As designed it provides opportunities for people to live more independently who would otherwise not be able to live safely and independently in the community.

Working closely with the local authority we arranged for Stephen to move into his own one-bedroom flat in the development in St Austell in late 2017. As luck would have it and in part due to the small and close knit nature of communities in Cornwall, Stephen was now being supported by staff who attended the same primary school and even attended at the same time. A shared connection and the fact that Stephen and the staff know and love the area made it much easier for him to settle into living in his own property– but with the support on hand whenever needed.

Stephen has a personalised support plan designed with his needs and desires at the centre. As such our time is spent supporting him with his medication and health needs and discussing and exploring health advice to improve his overall wellbeing. We have also worked closely with him to enable him to engage in activities in the local community. Being around familiar faces with a shared history in a supportive secure environment has given Stephen stability and consistency. The combination of housing and support from one provider means he has come to love his home as his own and use his support to achieve is personal ambitions.

Our housing officers have excellent relationships with all customers and their families and regularly meet them individually or at tenancy meetings. Our extensive local knowledge combined with our effective working relationships with local agencies means we can support the health and well-being and aspirations of all of our customers at a lower cost than if both were procured and provided independently. Support staff are now working with Stephen to help him increase his self-confidence so that he can increase his independence and achieve more stretching ambitions. He is very much driving his own plan for his future in a way that he has not been able to do so in the past. We were pleased that our services in Cornwall received a CQC ‘Good’ rating.

In 2018 as part of the last inspection of regulated services. In 2019 we were delighted that the scheme was shortlisted for a Learning Disability & Autism award in the best supported housing category.