We’re proud of our successes
The ubu way
Perhaps one of greatest skills at ubu is that we are great listeners and by active and careful listening we truly understand why each of us ‘do what we do’, the issues, challenges, hopes and dreams of those we serve, from this precious information we can tailor a bespoke plan for every individual that will truly enable them to realise those goals, aims and aspirations.
SO HOW DO WE ACHIEVE THIS?
We bring together a multi-disciplinary team for every individual that we serve, these teams include experts and therapists with the range of skills to help and support each individual, this is of huge importance if individuals have complex mental health conditions, learning disabilities, personality and behavioural disorders.
This carefully tailored support will enable those we serve to live as safely, independently and as happily as possible within their own community.
My name is Anthony and for many years I lived at home with my mum and dad, but they have both passed away now. When my dad died there was just me and mum for a long time at home. Sadly she too passed away last year.
During this difficult time I was living on my own at home. Managing my life began to get harder and harder for me. People who cared about me, thought I was at Day Services that had been arranged for me but actually I wasn’t. In fact, I hadn’t been to them in nearly eighteen months! I wasn’t eating very well and not really managing to look after myself and my home.
Social workers who were trying to help me decided that I needed to find somewhere else to live and to have support and care that would help me get more control in managing my life and the things that I really want to do. I cannot tell you how scared and shocked I was after living in my house for more than fifty years at the prospect of moving. It seemed impossible at first.
I visited a ubu supported house in Darlington where people are enabled to live more independently but with caring support available when they need it. I felt right at home on my first visit. It was a surprise to everyone. I liked it so much that I wanted to move in right there and then! I had to wait, of course, for a space to become available for me.
I visited regularly in the next two weeks for tea, and then I started coming alone and staying longer each time. I was able to choose my bedroom and the colours I wanted it decorating so that it suited me.
When moving day arrived my family and friends didn’t think I would want to leave my old home. But I surprised them all by having all my bags packed and ready to leave. My goal was to move in to my new home as soon as possible.
There were loads of things that I wanted to achieve straight away. The first thing on my list was a trip to the theatre as I hadn’t been in many years. Anyway I have achieved that now and now I’m ready to find new challenges and experiences. Moving on from my old life has helped me to have a voice and to let people know what I want to do!
My family say that I have gone from a man who stares at his feet and mumbles to a proud man who sticks out his chest and tells people what he wants! I have even told my social worker that I want to go back to work two days a week and that I am ready to do this for the first time in years.
Hi I’m Emma and my big news is that I recently moved house. I decided it was time to downsize as the place I had been living in was very large and just felt too big for one person.
I was supported to choose my new place, and after only a short time looking I found the ideal spot at the beginning of December. The only worrying part was that I was to be moving only 2 weeks later! How would I do it?
I agreed on a date and organised a removal van before beginning the mammoth task of packing all my things.
The next days flew by and before I knew it my moving day had arrived. I found it difficult because I have always struggled with change and so it was all a bit unnerving. But ubu were on hand. They supported me all through the morning, and suggested that I went out for lunch and then to the cinema so that I could take my mind off the stress of it all for a few hours.
When I got back I found that everyone had pitched in and worked really hard to finish moving the rest of my things. They had even set up my living room so that I could sit down, relax and have a coffee. This meant I felt at ease with the change of lifestyle I was now facing.
Since the move I have really settled into my new surroundings. I love my new place and am so happy that I made this choice. All those around me agree that this was definitely the right choice for me, and that feels great.
Hi I’m Graham and I live in Darlington. I love traveling, especially by train. I find it so exciting, but I haven’t been on one for a while as it can also be very stressful for me. I really wanted to go on another train but was scared and anxious. With the help from the enabling staff at ubu we looked at what I could do while on the train to keep calm. I could read a book or maybe take a puzzle book… In the end I decided I could wear my headphones and play my favourite songs.
When I woke up that morning, I was so excited that I rushed to get ready, but I made sure I had my headphones with me as I left my flat. When I arrived at the train station I saw there was a train about to leave so I went and watch the trains come and go from the bridge.
I hadn’t planned where I wanted to go, but the next train leaving was for Newcastle-not that far away! I went to the ticket desk and paid my fare and had some spare time to flick through the magazines about trains they had for sale in the café. I really liked this magazine as it was all about steam trains – my favourite!
I made my way to the platform and waited until my train arrived. It was a busy train, but I managed to get a seat near the door and put my headphones in just before the train left the platform. It was great!
When we got to Newcastle I wanted to have a look around the Science Museum “Centre for Life”. There were lots of things to see and do here, it was really interesting. Before I left I decided to have a coffee. The weather was so nice and it was hot so I decided to sit outside and listen to some music. There was lots of artwork that was outside the museum and I really liked a silver statue which was opposite where I sat.
I headed back to the station, but my train wasn’t due for another twenty minutes so I wanted to have a look around the station. I met a very friendly police officer and told him all about my adventure to Newcastle, he was really interested and asked lots of questions! Before I said “goodbye” I asked if we could take a picture together and the police officer said yes and offered me his hat! I shook his hand and thanked him before making my way to the train.
The train was a lot quieter on the way back, but I still put my headphones on. When I stepped off the train I was so proud of what I had overcome today! Walking through the station I saw some brochures about other train journeys but there was one that really caught my eye! The Lake District steam engine. Now I know I can manage my anxieties I am excited to go on longer train journeys and this is the next trip I am planning. I can’t wait!
Hi. My name is Ian. I work at the Salvation Army Café as a kitchen assistant, helping serve pensioners a hot dinner. I worked diligently twice a week, Monday & Thursday, for many years. Sadly, due to dropping numbers and economic cutbacks, the café was forced to end its Thursday meal service. I was really sad and upset with the news at first, not only for the pensioners but for myself.
The thought of filling my Thursdays by attending another adult day centre or sitting around at home was not for me. I decided I could either let this knock me back, or I could use it as an opportunity to move forward towards a career. The choice was easy.
I set my goal to work in a professional kitchen, a real café. I was supported by my enablers to make enquiries at all the local cafes and to register with job agencies. And like many job seekers, I went on many informal interviews and received many rejections. But I didn't let this dampen my enthusiasm to get a job. On the contrary, with every interview I grew more and more confident in presenting myself and what I could contribute.
In the end, my perseverance paid off, and I found the perfect job. I now work in a professional café, one that helps fund projects for the homeless. I love it there. I feel I have more responsibility, confidence, and understanding of the catering industry than ever before. After an amazing start, I have built up a great relationship with the staff and with the customers alike. Plus it feels great to be helping give back to the community again, by playing an integral part of it.
My transformation from probably the most awkward to the most improved student started two years ago when I moved into my new home, where I’ve been enabled to live more independently by ubu. I’d had two adult placements in the past but they didn’t work out because my behaviour was too challenging for most people to deal with. I’d also started to go to college but that failed too for much the same reasons!
I’m autistic and have some learning difficulties and a language processing disorder. My life had been tough at home. I know that I was aggressive and threatening, sometimes for no obvious reason to those around me. It was hard for other people and frustrating for me. I’m 6’5” tall and people have told me that I’m not the easiest guy to manage. Some people have in the past written me off as being too unsafe to live in supported living. Thankfully ubu could see beyond all of that and recognised my potential, helping me to develop a more positive plan for my future.
The ubu enablers who were working with me helped to set up a training programme with the challenging behaviour team designed for the staff at the local college. It was put together so they could understand what makes me tick and find better ways to support me to succeed.
Gradually things started to change. Not in me at first but more in the way people communicated with me and how they acted around me.
I noticed several things. A good example is my headphones. I used to snap them all the time especially when I felt frustrated and angry. ubu enablers told me I would have to save up for new ones. It was very direct and clear communication from them. Of course I often used to fly into a rage as a result. But in time I started to deal with it myself. I went off and bought new headphones from the pound shop and I no longer felt angry with everyone else.
It was the little things that changed, nothing that seemed really major to me. I was encouraged to get more regular sleep. It made a proper difference to how I felt each day. I decided to stop taking my stuff to college to swap with the other students because it was never a fair deal.
College became easier to go to. If I had had a ‘bad’ morning the tutors seemed to know about it and would try to keep things calm for me. I think enablers from ubu kept in close contact with them to let them know if I wasn’t feeling great.
Things got better and better and last July I won ‘The most improved student’ award for 100% attendance. Imagine that. I used to get thrown out! It was the proudest day of my life when the local radio station presented it to me - it has pride of place in my bedroom.
I’m really much happier now and I don’t feel as angry nearly as much as I used to. Everything has changed for the better since the people around me have found ways to communicate better with me, and I’ve found ways to feel calmer and deal with things that I used to find so difficult. Now I get out and about and have fun with my friends. For example, I went to an amazing dance festival this year, a first for me, which was really good.
Next up is finding a proper job where I can use the skills and knowledge I’ve been working so hard for – and then a girlfriend…
Hello, my name’s John. For as long as I can remember, my mam has been dealing with all my financial affairs. Not long ago she and I got talking about how good it would be for me to take more charge of my money. My mam suggested that it would be good for me to have a bank account where I can get my own money out on a weekly basis.
We talked it over with the enabling team from ubu who support me to live with greater independence. It seemed like a really good idea because it’s a great step forward for me to become more independent and in charge of what happens in my life.
My mam helped me to organise setting up a Post Office bank account. We decided that I should arrange to have a specific amount of money transferred to my new account every week so that I always have the money I need to the things I want to do and buy my shopping.
Over a period of a few weeks I started practicing with my mam and with the enabling team from ubu, going to the local post office. I took it step by step, learning what I needed to do when I need to withdraw some cash. I would tell the post office counter staff how much I would like to take out. I would then place my card into the machine making sure it was the correct way then waiting for the lady to tell me I can input my pin number. It’s a big responsibility but it’s something that I began to get more comfortable and confident about doing.
Once I had got into the routine of doing this for a few weeks with my mam, I asked the ubu enablers who work with me, to ‘shadow’ me when I go each week to the Post Office. At first I asked them to stand next to me when I was withdrawing my money, (but making sure that they looked away when I put my pin number in the machine), just in case I got confused or needed encouragement.
When I had been going to the Post Office for a few weeks I started to feel more confident. I asked the ubu enablers who came with me to wait for me and observe. Now I stand in the Post Office queue by myself and wait for my turn to be served. I’d then withdraw the money I needed out and make sure I put my money safely into my wallet before I leave the Post Office.
The next step is to go to the Post Office on my own. When I feel confident enough to go without support I will let my enabling team know. Making this change has made me feel ‘brilliant’, I’m keen to do more things for myself and find ways to take charge of life in the future
Working Backward to Move Forward
I used to lack confidence in myself. It kept me from doing the things on my own, for myself and for others, and I wanted to change that. But I didn’t know how to start. With the one-to-one support I receive from ubu, I feel my independence has come on in leaps and bounds.
We started with something familiar: a walk to the local shop to buy milk for the house. But to do all the steps there and back independently was daunting. My enablers recognised this and showed me how to work through them using backward chaining. I would start at the end and learn the one step previous each day - at my own pace - until I had learned the entire series of steps slowly, safely, and steadily.
Imagine the feeling! For the first time, I was sure of myself and in control. I was buzzing when I got home. Those feelings of confidence and independence sparked something new in me. Soon, I was volunteering to go to the shop for my housemates on a daily basis. I really enjoyed the satisfaction of doing for myself, and for others.
Jump ahead to today and you will see a different me. I’m more responsible for day-to-day tasks in my home and am regularly out and about in town. This small first achievement, through the help of my enablers, has significantly improved my life. Whilst out on my walks, I chat with many of my neighbours, and I truly feel more a part of the community.
One of my housemates has seen the change, too. This has inspired him to start his own learning journey, to move toward more independence and a happier life. I’ve buddied up with my housemate, giving advice and guidance on how to stay safe whilst out of the house (which makes me really proud).
I feel a huge growth in confidence and a greater sense of purpose and responsibility.