TWO residents of a charity’s residential home in Hertfordshire have tied the knot in a ceremony attended by family, friends and staff.
Lloyd McCann, 67 and Joanne Miles, 42, met at the Life Opportunities Trust Welwyn Garden City home when Jo arrived five years ago and they hit it off straight away.
Lloyd said: “As soon as we met I knew we’d get on. Jo has a lot of common sense, which I like and she obviously thinks I’m nice. We just fell in love.”
Lloyd proposed to Jo last Christmas.
They were married last month in Hatfield Registry office, and had a reception at the home afterwards. For the couple’s honeymoon, they spent the day in Southend on Sea.
Home Manager, Ellie Barresi, said: “Often, people question whether those with a learning disability should get married, but these two amazing individuals are more than capable of making their own choices in their lives.
“I am personally very proud of both of them having achieved this amazing milestone in their lives.
“Lloyd was very emotional on his wedding day. Joanne was nervous but excited the night before.
“They have both told me that today has been the best day of their lives and they are looking forward to their new life together.
“My staff and I, along with the other service users living here at Sewells, are delighted for the happy couple.”
And Lloyd, who has been living at the care centre for the last 12 years, said: “I’ve been very happy here but we would now very much like to now find a place of our own.”
The Chief Executive of LOT, Ralph Verlander, said enabling its service users to live as individually, independently and positively as possible was one of the main aims of the charity.
““Life Opportunities Trust is committed to providing a quality service based on the values of privacy, dignity, independence and choice and person-centred planning is at the heart of our approach, so we develop and tailor support programmes around each person’s wishes and aspirations, which can sometimes include the odd wedding,” he said.
Life Opportunities Trust provides residential and home care for people with learning disabilities, dementia and Alzheimer’s and adults with Downs Syndrome. They operate 12 homes in Hertfordshire and Middlesex.
As well as its range of services, which include outreach, home care, supported living and residential care, there are personalised programmes suiting the needs of the individual.
It has a reputation for a very personal environment and trains up staff, keeping them for long periods of time and often has staff return to them.
LOT is now aiming to broaden its area of operation outside of Hertfordshire and Middlesex but not lose the balance of care at the same time, as well as further developing ‘transitions’ for adults over 18 leaving special school and helping them get back into society and become more independent.
It is also hoping any growth will enable the charity to employ more people and attract more private clients.
“We believe LOT has a lot more to offer communities and people out there and we are committed to making our services even more invaluable for the future,” concluded Ralph.