A young autistic man who spent the first 19 years of his life in residential care is celebrating the first anniversary of living independently.
Lee Jones, who has high functioning autism and attachment disorder, successfully made the transition to supported living run by Regard, at Park House in Weymouth town centre.
The 20-year-old transport enthusiast, transferred from Purbeck View School in Dorset where he received round the clock residential care.
Park House service manager Elisa Willcox said: “The placement has been a huge success and Lee has adapted to adult services really well. He’s a complete delight.
““ He has progressed in many areas of his life, including his food repertoire, which he has worked on since being at school.
“He is now involved in selecting what to buy and prepare for evening meals with his fellow house mates. The group are also regular visitors to the local McDonald’s, when they fancy a treat!”
Lee is fascinated by transport and has dedicated his room in the famous red, white and green livery of UK transport giants Eddie Stobart.
Since coming to Park House Lee has gone on his first-ever holiday, visiting the National Railway Museum in York with a support worker. He has also attended local steam fairs and the Wessex Truck Show in Yeovil.
Added Elisa: “Lee was very anxious being among people when he arrived at Park House but now gets fully involved when the group join together to prepare an evening meal and supports other service users with reading.
“He also attends a nearby friendship group where there are regular discos and trips out and enjoys visiting local cafes and the town library.”
For two days a week Lee attends a nearby community farm where he helps care for the livestock and also drives the tractor and cuts the grass.
Lee now has his own bank account and manages funds with support from his key worker and has a provisional driving licence.
He is also keen on DIY and has his own toolbox. In the future he may look at going to college and eventually look for a job on a farm.
Park House is a specialist supported living service for young people, aged 18-30, with learning disabilities and or autism in transition from residential college, foster care or the family home
The focus of service is to promote independence and support young people to access further education, employment, social and recreational activities.
The service occupies a large semi-detached house within walking distance of the seafront and Weymouth town centre with seven bedrooms, plus communal areas and large garden.
Staff are available 24 hours a day, including a sleep-in night staff member.
There is currently a vacancy at the service, a first floor room with en-suite available. Families and external professionals can learn more by calling a referrals hotline on 0800 840 0313.
The Regard Group, which runs Park House, has recently attained the Gold Standard at Investors in People, one of only four organisations in the sector to achieve the standard.