For Joseph Osoba and his team at a supported living service in Penge, South East London, while it tugs at the heart-strings to say ‘goodbye’ to the individuals they support when they move out and start living independently, it is also a time for celebration.
“They all have learning disabilities and associated mental health issues, and they come to us for support in learning the skills that will enable them to live on their own, so when they’re ready to move on, it means we’ve done our job,’ Joseph said, “but it’s always hard to see them go.”
The latest success story from Joseph’s service, Crystal House, is 24-year-old Harrison, who lived with them for just over a year.
Joseph said: “Harrison has learning difficulties and epilepsy, and is partially-sighted. He needed support to become self-sufficient with medication, as well as with other aspects of looking after himself.”
Travelling to and from college to study computing was one of the first things Joseph’s team helped Harrison to manage independently.
“At the beginning one of us would go on public transport with him, then we shadowed him until we were confident he was ‘travel-trained’ and able to make the journey safely on his own,” said Joseph.
Once the Crystal House staff and Harrison’s social services liaison officer were satisfied he was ready to ‘fly solo,’ they sorted an outreach package for him which enabled him to move out into his own flat, within walking distance of the home of a much-loved sister.
Joseph Osoba, said: “Several of the other people who live with us are also celebrating personal achievements, so it’s a very happy start to 2017 at Crystal House.”
Among these is Rebecca who last November received an award from the Mayor of Croydon for her outstanding achievements in college during the past year. Rebecca came to the service in September 2015 and currently attends Croydon Adult Learning and Training College where her activities include rambling, creative computers, advanced cookery, dance, healthy living and developing independence. With staff support she also attends a sporting activity organised by the Royal London Society for Blind People two Saturdays every month at Crystal Palace.
Rebecca said: “I feel really good living at Crystal House. The staff help me with my college work – they are very good to me and the other tenants. Our last holiday to Blackpool was great – my lovely keyworker and other support workers ensured we had the best of times.”
Joseph Osoba said: “We have a great team and feel privileged to support some wonderful people, so we’re keen to share news of their achievements with their community.”
Crystal House is run by the Regard Group, which 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, as well as supported living for young people in transition from residential college, foster care or the family home.
To mark Crystal House’s third anniversary of operation in 2017, staff and service users are planning a house party in May, to which they will be inviting families, friends and social workers as well as people who live at other Regard services.
The seven bedroom property provides a home for people aged between 18 and 28, and is one of 148 services run by Regard throughout the UK.
There is currently one first floor en-suite room available at Crystal House, which is located close to local shops and amenities in Penge and has good transport links to places further afield.