Hello, my name is John. I moved into my home here in York in 2012, enabled by ubu. It means that I can I live with independence and choose to live in the way I want to.  So much has changed over the last few years in my life. When I first came here I didn’t do much for myself. Probably that was because I had been taken care of by other people for a good deal of my life rather than being given the chance to take responsibility for doing I what I would choose to do.

I found it pretty hard at first to be around other people, I didn’t have much confidence in myself. But there has always been one thing that I do enjoy and that’s my love of music. I like to play music, I like to listen to music, I live and breathe music.

Before I moved into my present home, I hardly ever went out and I never went shopping. I felt that I didn’t have any say in what I wanted to do, what to wear or even what I wanted to eat. When I moved into my own flat, supported by ubu, things started to change. I spent a lot of time working out and planning how I wanted my place to look. For the first time ever I got to choose the colours on my walls and look for furniture and nice things to decorate my flat and make it truly mine.

Living here has given me a new lease on life. In the past I didn’t look after myself but since I’ve been able to have independence and the freedom to choose what happens in my life, I’ve become proud of who I am. I found that I like to dress smartly whenever I can. I even have a really fashionable suit which I love to wear whenever the occasion arises.

I also decided to learn how to cook, to plan and make my meals. With enabling from the ubu team, I’ve come from someone who ‘couldn’t’ to someone who ‘can’! My favourite food is Italian-style and as my confidence has increased, I’ve started to eat out in restaurants. I’m trying new things all the time and I love to list all the different kinds of food I’ve tried.

I signed up for two college courses on food preparation and health and safety. I’m proud to be able to display my certificate on the wall. In fact my new-found confidence has helped me to start working at a community-based charity in their kitchens helping to give something back to my community.

I never used to go on holidays, but with encouragement and minimal support from ubu, I’ve been to has now been to holiday camp in England and I visited  Barcelona in Spain. That was a huge step forward for me. I like all things American especially the music,so now I’m saving up for my dream of a holiday which would be to visit the USA. I feel brave. Brave for what I’ve already achieved, brave for what I’m doing in my life now and brave for making plans for the future. I’m doing things now that I couldn’t have dreamed of doing five years ago.