Why did you choose Field Lane?
Sam moved into Ailsa Road about 10 years ago, when she was 20. Previously she had lived in a residential school before moving into a residential care home setting. This did not work out for Sam, she was unhappy there, and that is when we heard about Field Lane’s new project being opened in Ailsa Road. Sam instantly took a liking to her new home and was happy there from day one. The staff were extremely helpful and welcoming – even coming to Sam’s previous home to help her pack and move.
How has Field Lane changed your lives?
It’s been a transformative experience for both of us. Our relationship is now that of mother and daughter, rather than me being her full-time carer. Since living in Ailsa Road, Sam has become incredibly independent. She views it as her home. Field Lane works hard to create a real home setting for every resident, no matter what special needs they have. Sam has global development delay and learning difficulties. She is vulnerable and needs full-time support. Since being in Ailsa Road she has a busy calendar and I have to fit in my visits with her social life! She goes to college, attends various clubs, does fitness activities such a swimming and zumba, goes on day trips and overseas holidays, as well as doing her own shopping, cooking etc.
What impact has the coronavirus and lockdown had on you and Sam?
Like everyone, I was really worried about what to do and whether I should bring Sam home. I work as a key worker in a special school and decided it would be better and safer for Sam to stay at Ailsa Road. The project locked down immediately and the same staff continued to work there – no agency staff were brought in. It gave me complete peace of mind. Sam has been happy through lockdown. She has enjoyed all the extra home-based activities that staff have been doing to occupy residents. For me it’s been difficult not seeing Sam and missing special days, such as Mother’s Day and her birthday. But we have spoken on the phone and the staff have been great in keeping in regular contact and reassuring me about how she is faring. They’ve also helped her with FaceTime calls, so at least we could see each other. The staff have been amazing. I’ve always thought they were wonderful but during lockdown they have been even more incredible. The fact that all the residents have stayed calm, settled, happy and safe during lockdown is a reflection of the team caring for them. Sam thinks of the staff as her family and Ailsa Road as her home. I’m daunted by how we will ease out of lockdown; it’s going to be a complicated transition. But I’m confident that Field Lane will handle it well and keep us informed about the process.
What are you most looking forward to as lockdown eases?
I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular Friday evening at home with Sam watching Gogglebox – hanging out together and being a normal mum, not just a carer. Also, I’m looking forward to popping into Ailsa Road for a cup of tea and chat with the staff. I miss going there almost as much as having Sam come to visit me at home. As a mother of a child with learning difficulties, you worry about how they will cope as an adult. You want them to be able to lead an independent and fulfilling life. This is what Field Lane is doing for Sam. I feel confident to hand over her care to the team at Ailsa Road. The ethos there is amazing.