Jonathan, whose son, Marcus lives in one of our Surrey projects, explains why he chose Field Lane
Why did you choose Field Lane (FL)?
My son, Marcus was at a Mencap residential college (in Yeovil) and we wanted his next move to be in a smaller, community living setting, closer to home. We looked at lots of possible options, but the care arrangements weren’t right for Marcus, the community living aspect was missing, and we feared he would be isolated if he moved into a setting that didn’t focus on him being part of a community. When we were first introduced to Field Lane we were immediately impressed. Although 24-hour care is provided, it is not ‘residential’ with staff living in, the house belongs to the residents. The set-up is ideal, with Marcus having his own living space, sharing the communal areas with the five other residents. The distance from our home was also a factor in our choice, not being next door to us, so Marcus was living away from home but near enough to make visits easy. The key objective for us as a family was to find Marcus a place to live where he could be as independent as possible.
Marcus is now 29 and he has been living with Field Lane for seven and a half years. He is on the autism spectrum and has speech and language difficulties, and other health-related issues. A gentle soul, but who knows his own mind, Marcus is willing to try new things. Moving to Field Lane has enabled him to pursue his interests and discover new ones. Operating to extremely high standards, with a strong client-centred focus, we know Field Lane is the right place for Marcus. The staff give what clients want and need, not the other way around, as we found in many other places. Field Lane feels vibrant, fun and a good place for him to be.
How has FL changed your lives?
Finding a place with Field Lane was a great relief for us. My wife, Sue would not have accepted anything that wasn’t perfect for Marcus, despite social services trying to steer us in a different direction. It was clear from the start that Field Lane was far above many other, similar care providers. We are so impressed with the staff, who support Marcus well, ensuring he continues to develop and become more independent. Marcus being his own person is very important to us. It’s always a worry what will happen when you grow too old to care for your child; who will provide the support and care they need as they grow older too? Being settled with Field Lane has helped to alleviate that worry and given us confidence. It has had a positive impact on our wider family too, including his grandmother, who Marcus is close to.
What impact has the lockdown had on you and Marcus?
It has been a real concern, but the staff have been great at explaining to Marcus what is happening and why. He understands and watches the news on TV. We FaceTime with him regularly. Being able to maintain frequent contact throughout has been reassuring. The staff have also kept everyone active and done everything possible to keep residents occupied, safe and happy. Routine has been important, though not easy when the circumstances are so out of the ordinary. Marcus likes sport, swimming and running in particular, which has been tricky during lockdown. Staff have encouraged him to continue to exercise and to run, when possible.
What are you most looking forward to as lockdown eases?
Marcus is most looking forward to being able to take part in parkruns, he’s entered 241 to date. I’m looking forward to being able to run with him again too. We enjoy running together. He’s also looking forward to resuming foreign travel, which he loves – him and my wife have already booked a trip to Turkey next year – he can’t wait to return to sunny climes, to sit by the pool or the sea and eat good food! Most of all, we are just looking forward to seeing him again and spending time together. We have missed him. We’ve also missed visiting the house and chatting with his housemates and the staff. They also feel part of our family too.