Lea's Story - Stepping Down Support with the help of our Social Work team

We spoke with Lea to find out the skills she has developed and how she’s created a life of her choosing.

Lea, lives in Maidenhead and has been receiving social work support from the Community Learning Disability Team for over ten years. During this time, she has worked with her social workers to move from 24 hours residential support to living independently in her own flat with no formal support package.

Initially when Lea moved out of her family home, she was living in a residential service with 24 hours support. Over the course of 5 years, she worked hard to continue to develop her skills, and built her skills to cook, clean and maintain her own health, medication, personal care, and mental health.
Lea explains 

“I was high risk, and had a good and bad times, the home did help me and support me. I took my own initiative and did things myself to build my skills., Now when I have a problem, my GP and social workers often say I’ve come on leaps and bounds, and I can get through this.”

Over time, with her skills increasing and as she adopted new techniques to manage the challenges that she may experience due to her mental health, Lea has stepped down the support she receives. Sharon Ellis, Senior Social Worker, explains – “We followed her lead, as she has developed her skills, when she felt ready to review her support, we offered options for the next step.”

Lea adds, my social worker said to me

“It's time to move on, I needed more freedom to control my own social life. I couldn’t really see my friends at my old home. I was literally trapped; I only had my bedroom to have my own space away from other residents.”

Lea continues

“I love living on my own, I like my own company and find it difficult living with others, and I can come and go as I want.”

Reflecting on stepping down the last of the formal support she was receiving, Lea says

“I decided I did not want it anymore. I did not want people in my home, particularly when I am not feeling myself.”

Lea has developed the skills to pro-actively seek support and advice from trusted sources in her local community, she has built a support network for herself over the years. From reaching out to the pharmacist to help manage any queries relating to her medication to maintaining a strong and supportive connection with her GP. She also speaks to her housing association team as and when she needs advice or support. Regardless of the area or task, Lea is able to seek out appropriate support for various reasons, as needed, for example, she recently lost one of her pets and used a local pet bereavement service to help support her through this sad time.

Lea continues to take steps towards further independence, having recently found employment. “I sometimes feel like I don’t want to go, but I go and when I’m there I feel better. I have a great team that I work with.” Alongside this she has begun to look at how she can improve her diet and is starting to home cook her meals. “It helps to have something ready to eat when I finish work and when you cook it yourself, you know what’s in it. I want to look after my body.”

As her formal support package has decrease, the CTPLD team have established a pattern of support that works for Lea, including phone calls twice a week to provide ongoing emotional and practical support in a preventative manner.
When reflecting on the help from the CTPLD team -she says:

“They have helped me, I am not easy and give them run. I get frustrated sometimes, but they’re good. I have a review once a year, and we look at all the success, look at what I want to do, they keep me informed.”