A Crystal Palace fan, who has a mild learning disability and is being supported to live in the community in Gipsy Hill in South London, is celebrating landing his dream job as a steward at the club’s stadium at Selhurst Park.
Graham Drew, began his career with ‘the ‘Eagles’ working outside the sports ground and was recently promoted to work inside the stadium helping ensure a safe environment for visitors on match days.
The 39-year-old lives, who independently in the community in his own flat, receives 20 hours of support a week from the South Road supported living service in Forest Hill to help manage his finances and shopping.
Said South Road team leader Folahan Adebowale: “We are delighted for Graham. As a Crystal Palace fan this is a dream come true. He loves being part of the action on match days and helping making sure everything runs smoothly.
“We supported Graham to go for the job and fill in the relevant paperwork because we knew he could do it and that he has a lot to give. He enjoys working with the public and the chance to shine as an ambassador for the club.”
Graham lived at the South Road service run by care provider Regard for three years before being supported to make the move to live independently since 2012. In preparation for this staff worked with Graham on how to manage his finances, including drawing up a weekly budget and putting away savings each week.
Added Folahan: “Moving out to live on your own can be a huge step and Graham is managing very well and enjoying have the freedom to organise his own affairs and live his own life.”
South Road is a male-only service for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, autism, and complex epilepsy. The service has a large garden and the added benefit of being located close to local shops, amenities and with good transport links.
The house is split over three floors, with seven single bedrooms including a bedsit on the top floor, and currently has a vacancy in one of its ground floor rooms.
Regard, the organisation behind South Road, is the UK’s fourth largest private organisation providing supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury, and caring for more than 1,100 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,100 people working at 147 locations throughout the UK.
The South Road staff team focus on promoting independence, supporting the people who live at the service to find employment opportunities and developing person-centred transition plans for independent living. Packages of outreach support are available for those able to move on, like Graham, which ensures continuity of support.