A Cambridgeshire woman with a learning disability and autism is receiving support to realise her lifetime dream – to live by the sea.
Meryem Kizilgol, aged 32, lives in Alderton House, a 10-bedroom specialist residential care home in Littleport, near Ely, Cambridgeshire operated by Regard, the UK’s fourth biggest care provider for people with learning disabilities.
Before moving to Alderton House in June 2009 Meryem was in a hospital setting but with the support of staff she is gaining control of her anxieties and behaviour and it is hoped that later this year she will be able to realise her dream.
Her key worker Sharon Wells said: “When she first came to us Meryem could not cope out in the community without two people with her at all times. She has worked really hard and with support is now able to do some activities completely independently.
“In 2014 she managed to go for a weekend away at the seaside as part of her holiday. She had never done this before so it was a great achievement. Then with her key worker she worked on a four stage plan that enabled her to develop confidence so that from September last year she has been able to visit a bakery regularly on her own.
“At the beginning of 2016 we started working with her on her next community based activity. Now I am working with her on identifying opportunities and options within Regard to see if there are any suitable options for her to move on to.
“It will be a huge achievement if we can help her realise her aim to live by the sea. To take someone from a hospital setting and see them improve and move on to achieving their dream is very rewarding.”
Regard has over 147 facilities supporting people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injuries in different locations. Ones by the coast are being considered for Meryem’s next step.
The staff team at Alderton House has over 180 years of combined experience of working in care and have supported individuals with very complex needs including Syndrome, Angelman’s syndrome, epilepsy, personality disorder, bi-polar disorder, autism, communication difficulties and people who challenge the service.
The highly-trained team’s aim is to support individuals to achieve their goals, participate in meaningful activities, try new experiences and be as independent as possible. They provide a solid base of support to help people with boundaries, routines, structure, independent living skills as well as emotional and social needs.