The goals we set for ourselves can have a huge impact on our lives. The things we want to achieve along the way can help to fulfil some of these lifelong dreams. Anthony from Darlington in County Durham, has built up trust and friendship with the ubu enabling team who work with him every day and also with the people he lives around. For Anthony, reaching his goal of living with more independence has been an incredible journey of dealing with and of overcoming some with massive life changing events.
“This is my story, it’s been a journey and I want to tell other people about it” says Anthony. “I’m proud of what I have been able to do in this last year”. Every day Anthony steps forward, surprises and inspires everyone around him.
“There is a picture is of me, it was taken on the day I moved in to my new home” Anthony says proudly, “My new friends, the people I live with now, bought me chocolates and a card to make me feel welcome”. Becoming a part of a friendly community has been very important in helping Anthony to feel more confident. “I am quite a shy person and don’t like talking in front of people much, but with some help from my ubu enabler I want to share what I’ve been through and what I’ve learnt in order to get to here”.
In the past Anthony had always lived at home with his mum and dad. “When my dad died a few years ago there was just me and my mum for a very long time. Then last year my mum died too and I was all alone at home”.
This was a huge and devastating change for Anthony. “My life got really hard, it was difficult to cope with all that had changed and I stopped going out almost altogether”. People thought Anthony was continuing to attend the day services that had been an important part of his life in the past, but he wasn’t. In fact nobody noticed that he hadn’t been in eighteen months!
“I wasn’t eating very well and wasn’t really able to look after myself and my home”. Eventually social services realised how difficult Anthony’s life had become and decided that he needed to find somewhere to live with support from care staff. “I had lived in my family home for more than fifty years so thinking about making such a drastic change was a shock. My house wouldn’t be my home anymore! I was really scared and didn’t think I’d find a decent place to live”.
“I was invited to visit one of the ubu supports in Darlington to see if it might be the kind of place I wanted to live in”. At first Anthony’s social worker wasn’t sure if it would be the right for him but from his first visit Anthony says that he felt comfortable and at ease. “I wanted to move in on the first night I visited!” For the next few weeks Anthony continued to visit the ubu support, coming for tea once in a while. “I started going alone and staying for longer because I really liked it here”.
“Once everything was agreed about my tenancy, I chose a bedroom in the house, picked colours and how I wanted it decorating”. For Anthony giving up the only home he had ever known and moving to somewhere new was a really big step. “When it came to my moving day, my family didn’t think I would want to leave the old house. They thought I’d be upset and refuse to go. But they were so wrong!” His family arrived to find that he had all his bags packed and ready to go because he wanted to move in to his new home before Christmas.
Now Anthony has had a chance to get settled in to his new home. He has discovered greater independence and confidence that is new and exciting for him. “I’ve found that there are lots of things I want to do like going out to the theatre”. Now, with a small amount of enabling from ubu, he is starting to achieve goals like this that he sets for himself. “I wanted to go to the theatre as I hadn’t been in years and years. I didn’t know how to do it on my own, but I’ve done it, I’ve already been!” He explains, “I chose to sit a few rows in front of the people I went with, to enjoy my independence. I had a pint and an ice cream in the interval. I had a fantastic time!”
As his confidence grew, Anthony has begun to make plans to get his life on track as he wanted it. “My next goal is to go back to work for a couple of days a week, I really want to get out there and do something interesting for the first time in years”. With enabling support from ubu he is building a whole new life for himself. “It’s the first time I’ve lived alone, without my mum. Now I have my own home, I’m more independent and I’m becoming happy again”.
Anthony’s family and friends agree whole-heartedly when he describes himself now. “I’d gone from a man who stares at his feet and mumbles, to a person who walks proudly. I have found my voice again so that I can tell people what I really want for my life.”