Katie's Diary

Dorothy Jarvis-Lee Blog: New opening

11th September 2014

NEW openings are always exciting times here at ubu as we look forward to growing and improving the lives of more people through our unique uStep model.

This week we really pushed the boat out with our latest uStep opening at Halfpenny Lane, Knaresborough.  We always celebrate with a party and this was no different.

As well as two celebrity singers we invited Sarah, one of the people we serve from an existing uStep service, to act as host and we also had music and dance by a group of people we serve with an Indian theme.

Sarah and I first met 15 years ago when she was in long term care having been abused by family members and self-harmed as a means of escape.  As she said in her introduction ubu wanted her when no one else did.  Our role since then has been as a partner with Sarah, as she has worked extremely hard to turn her life round.

Today, the doctors who were treating her then, wouldn’t recognise her. 

Supported by ubu, she has taken some critical decisions about her life including sacking her psychiatrist and pursuing the search for her long lost brother, which continues.  Sarah chose to have corrective surgery for her self harm and proudly shows her remaining scars.  Those are physical but her mental scars are slowly healing as she makes a life for herself in her community supported by ubu.  Sarah was brave to share her story and you will be able to view it on our website www.ubu.me.uk when it goes live.

One of the many highlights of the day was listening to Martin Finn the 23 year old autistic man who sings with the voice of an angel.  Brought across from his Wigan home by his parents he sang four of his favourites and had the audience screaming for more.

His performance was positive proof of what vulnerable adults are capable of given the right encouragement and environment.

John Finn, his dad spoke of his admiration for uStep services but also of the very real concerns him and is wife, Norma, have for Martin as they age and can’t care for him as they would want.  More serious for them is the thought he might be locked away in an institution if anything happens to them.  Familiar with the battles to get even small concessions in support for Martin, John has arranged for Martin to record a CD in the hope it will offer him some support in the future.

Jonathan Ansell is best known to most people from opera band GForce.  He was delighted to join us to help open our latest uStep service in North Yorkshire for 15 people.  His grand rooftop entrance left the audience gasping but they were delighted when he went on to sing well known rock and pop songs before signing autographs as we continued to party and celebrate!

In his opening speech Jonathan talked about the work of ubu and how impressed he was with the difference we make to the people we serve by giving them the opportunity to live a more independent life at the heart of their own communities.

Like his own experience of XFactor, where he shot to fame, he reminded guests that ubu gave people without a voice the opportunity to live the lives they wanted and really fulfil their potential.

Our Knaresborough service was a milestone for ubu, coming as it does after another year of successful openings, where we have welcomed more than 40 new people we serve to our ubu uStep services.  Meeting old friends who are well on their journey such as Sarah, Simon and others demonstrates how effective uStep and the ubu ethos are in turning round the lives of people who others no longer want help.

By putting the people we serve in charge of their own destinies they have become or are becoming what they can be rather than remaining as they were.  The improvements are amazing and have been achieved because they wanted to change their lives and our Enabling teams have supported them.

We have worked very hard to develop uStep so that it helps us to improve the lives of the people we serve and it evolves as they and society changes.  Everyday we see the real difference it makes, as people who previously were totally dependant on others, live more independently at the heart of their communities, however small the changes are, they are real and incremental.

As we open more uStep services we will continue to be at the forefront of innovation in health and social care for vulnerable adults and children that enables them to integrate better into society and helps society to understand the better ways of supporting and caring for them.

Follow our progress on @ubusupport

Dorothy Jarvis-Lee Blog: New opening

 I decide what matters to me. ubu help and teach me to make my future happen 

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