Making a home for herself - Claire's story
Picture above: Claire at home with Dexter.
Claire has lived at Field Lane’s Ashdown Close project for six years, where she has her own flat and shares a garden. She moved from another supported-living project in Surrey but shared the house with other residents. At Ashdown Close she has her own, roomy flat, which she shares with her cheeky black cat, Dexter. There is even room enough for Claire’s 10-year-old daughter to come and stay, which she does regularly.
There are 11 people living at the Ashdown Close project – each with their own self-contained flat and supported by Field Lane staff, as and when needed.
Since moving into the flat and with the continuous encouragement and help of her Field Lane support worker, Claire has grown in confidence. When she first moved in, Claire would not do anything on her own. She was anxious about going out and would get stressed about meeting other people. That has all changed since she came to live in Ashdown Close. Claire has completely turned her life around – she now travels independently on public transport and in taxis, goes to appointments on her own, meets up with friends, socialises regularly, tries new things. She doesn’t need her support worker to be there with her all the time anymore.
Claire said, “I used to shut myself away but now I want to be out and about and doing things. If I don’t I get cabin fever!”
Last year she hosted Christmas at home for her daughter and her mum, who she sees most weeks. She cooked a festive lunch on Christmas Day for her mum and then again on and Boxing Day for her daughter. It was the first time Claire had ever cooked and entertained like this for visitors in her own home.
Claire is very active – she goes swimming, trampolining and even wall climbing. But one of her favourite activities is being part of the Include Choir. The choir is for people with and without communication difficulties or learning disabilities. Its aim is to bring communities together to sing and improve wellbeing.
“It makes me feel very happy,” says Claire. “We are now working on a version of True Colours, a song that is emotional and helps with stress. We hope to start doing concerts again soon. The choir went online during lockdown, we sang on Zoom. It is open to anyone to join.”
With the support of Field Lane, Claire is now living a full and independent life. She is a part of her community – connecting and socialising not only with other Field Lane residents but more widely across the local community through her many outside interests and activities.
Our goal is to support many more people like Claire to realise their potential and go on to lead independent and fulfilling lives.
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