A taste of freedom
Midland Heart has added to its work with adults with Learning Disabilities in Hereford following the opening of a new purpose-built service in the city.
Based in the heart of the city centre, Red Coat Close offers safe and secure accommodation which promotes independence and community integration. The building is managed by Sanctuary Supported Housing but nine of the ten customers received support from Midland Heart’s Housing Move On team in Hereford. The first of the customers moved into their new homes in May this year although the official launch wasn’t held until July. Helen George, Move On Transitional Support Worker, said customers had quickly settled into their new homes and were working well with support staff. “For the majority it was the first time they had moved out of their family homes so it was a huge change for them. “With support and close liaison with their families, everyone has handled the transition very well and are enjoying thenew opportunities gained by living at Red Coat Close.” “I like living here mainly because I don’t have to listen to my mum nagging me. I was very lazy and messy at home so she did have a point! I get on with her much better since I moved out. “Now I have my own place I am very houseproud and I’m forever cleaning my flat. I hope to go to college soon to study Beauty Therapy.” Emma Darley
“I wanted to move out for a while. My mum knew that and started teaching me some of the skills I would need so I was prepared when I came here. I chose my furniture with my mum before I moved in. “It’s been good so far. I can close the door and it’s my space. I like cooking and cleaning for myself too and I see my mum once a week.” Brianna Duffin
Moving into Red Coat Close was the first time Mel Prince, 44, had lived away from home. Mel, who has worked shifts at a local chicken factory for 26 years preparing meat for ready meals, has always lived with parents Penny and Barry at the family home in Wellington, on the outskirts of Hereford. “It was my parents who suggested that I move out to become more independent. I wasn’t looking forward to it but it’s been alright,” Mel said. “It was scary to begin with and I didn’t like it for the first month. I kept going home when I could. “My mum has always done everything for me – cooking, washing and ironing – so I’ve had to learn to do things for myself. “I know she misses me and I go home every weekend to see them. I still have my down days but not so often.
I like my flat and the people here are friendly.” Mel’s parents, Penny and Barry Prince had broached the idea that Mel should become more independent two years ago. “We weren’t pushing Mel out but we aren’t getting any younger and we were concerned how Mel would cope if anything happened to us,” explained Penny. “Mel works well when she’s in a routine but she does need support.”
“It was very difficult and stressful to begin with and we do miss having Mel around. She’s very cheerful and chatty and we used to do a lot of things together. “Her move has gone extremely well and a lot of that is down to the fantastic support she has received and having a brand new flat. “She still phones most nights but she said she wouldn’t be coming home this weekend, which is wonderful because I know that means she is very happy where she lives. “She’s a creature of habit and the support workers have helped her to set up routines. The things Mel struggles most with are cooking and paperwork, so she has help with these. “I think most parents find it difficult to back off when their children leave home for the first time, whatever their age. “It isn’t easy but I know Mel needs to tackle things herself. She knows me and her dad are here if she needs us.”