Ben lives in Torquay in a residential service run by Regard, the UK’s fourth largest private organisation which provides supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury.
He is supported to travel to Totnes every Monday to attend a group run by ROC, where he has learned how to do welding and wield a hammer creatively.
Lucy Tempest, service manager at Harbour, said: “Ben is always very enthusiastic about going to the metal-work group, and he’s learned new skills there which have enabled him to make some really lovely items.”
Ben, who has lived at Harbour for four years, has mild learning difficulties and Asperger’s syndrome.
Lucy said: “We support Ben on a one-to-one basis to attend a variety of other activities too, such as swimming and working at the horticulture project at Seale Hayne in Newton Abbott. He also loves his daily constitutional along the seafront here in Torquay.
“The most important thing is that we’re supporting Ben to engage in activities of his own choice, which is typical of the person-centred care we give at our service. The support we give is about doing things with people, rather than ‘to’ them.
“For us person-centred care means promoting the importance of each person as an individual, treating them with respect and being mindful of their desires, even where there are communications difficulties.”
Regard is currently spearheading a campaign to raise the profile of person-centred care in the UK, having launched its awareness-raising programme with a high-profile reception at the House of Lords in May for opinion-leaders, service users and staff.
Reflecting this approach, people who live at Regard services such as Harbour are involved in all aspects of their support, from the recruitment of staff through to day-to-day matters. Staff appreciate how important this responsibility is to service users and how it reflects their desire to make a genuine contribution.