Darren’s story

“I feel so much happier here knowing that I can get the support"

Darren has a learning disability along with anxiety, paranoia and ODC. He used to live in residential care in Clacton on Sea but in June 2018 he moved into Pioneer House in Chelmsford and his life changed.

Pioneer House is a supported housing scheme for adults with varied support needs such as learning disabilities, mental health issues and brain injuries.

Darren moved in to Pioneer House in August 2018 and has found life much easier since then. The scheme is different because it really puts control in the hands of the customers, with each person having a personalised diary and an individualised way of describing what matters most to them.

Darren gets help to do his shopping, banking and medication along with additional support around the home with cooking, ironing and cleaning. But that’s not all, he also gets help from Dave, one of the support workers, to go walking, to the pub and even for their weekly fry-up!

“I feel much more relaxed and less stressed here, as well as being able to be much more independent than I used to be.” Says Darren. “Dave also knows me well enough now to know when I am getting poorly, sometimes before I do.”

If Darren hadn’t been offered a place at Pioneer House he wouldn’t have been able to reach the level of independence he has now. He would no doubt still be living in a residential home with much less access to the freedoms he currently enjoys.

Along with this independence, Darren’s health mental health would likely not have improved as it has since it moving into Pioneer House.

Dave helps Darren go to regular appointments with his psychiatrist and psychologist which wouldn’t have been as straightforward if Darren was still living in a much more restrictive residential care setting.

What does supported housing mean to them? As Darren puts it “I feel so much happier here knowing that I can get the support I like in a home that I love.”

Help raise awareness

Thousands of people have gained their independence through supported housing. The Starts at Home campaign aims to ensure that people who need extra support will always have a home that meets their needs.

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