Carers support a young woman who is battling severe anxiety to access her local community

Heather Breen

Carers are supporting a young woman who is battling severe anxiety to access her local community.


Heather Breen, 26, who has a learning disability and is on the autistic spectrum, moved to Latymer House care service in Redhill last April.


Said Latymer manager Martin McGibbon said: “When Heather came to us she was very anxious about leaving the house and experiencing new things.


“I am delighted to say 10 months on she is really beginning to find her feet and now takes part in two sessions a week at Bletchingley Activity Centre.”


Due to her disabilities Heather finds any changes of routine can result in her experiencing feelings of extreme anxiety.


Heather attends the centre, which is run by Surrey Choices, where she enjoys ‘self-image’ sessions, where she learns about hair and make-up, and an art and crafts class.


To support Heather, staff showed her photographs of Bletchingley, based in Stychens Lane, and practiced making the journey there and back on foot and by taxi.


Heather receives one-to-one support on her visits to the centre.


Added Martin: “One of Heather’s support workers works shifts there which meant that she would see a familiar face when she went to her classes.


“First of all she attended a few taster sessions to see what she would like to do and once she gained sufficient confidence, she chose which classes she wanted to do.


“I’m delighted to say her confidence levels are continuing to improve and we are absolutely thrilled she is making such great progress.”


Anne Shiels, Surrey Choices area operations manager, said that Heather was taking everything in her stride and making great progress.


“She joins in with the rest of the group and enjoys getting involved in conversations and having a laugh with her fellow classmates.


“She was very quiet when she first came here and kept herself to herself but little by little she is gaining self-belief. We have seen a marvellous improvement in her.”


In addition to her visits to Bletchingley, Heather also attends a local Zumba class with her family.


Latymer House, run by award-winning care provider Regard, is a supported living service for people with learning disabilities and associated mental health needs, and currently has one vacancy in a ground floor room. The house is very close to the town centre and all local amenities. Details are available from Rod Brizzell on 07885 998240.


Bletchingley works with people who have learning disabilities and complex needs and supports them to enjoy classes including arts and crafts, exercise and independent cooking and living skills.


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