I just wanted to give you some feedback about my son Adam who you may know is working at Best Bites, Mendell Court
I had a review with Toni the other week and I commented to her on how much I thought Adam has improved his social skills and self-confidence since being there.
Adam is on the Autistic spectrum and his main issues are around social interaction, language comprehension and construction. He also suffers from numerical dyslexia.
Since Adam has been at Best Bites he has become noticeably more engaging in free conversation in discussing his day at work unlike at school when it was like getting blood out of a stone trying to find it about his day!
He also struggled a lot with numeracy and especially money. Again we have noticed a marked improvement in his counting of money especially going from one pound over to another when adding coins.
All in all I have to say that Adam has improved in all his weak areas immensely and I can't thank the staff enough at Mendell Court.
Ian (Adam’s father)
Alison attends one of our centre’s, one of the activities she is involved in was a community visit going to the local church singing group. This enAlisonled her to form a network of friends involved in the church. During a review Alison identified she would like to work with children.
Staff at the centre were aware the local church which were running a voluntary mums and tots group via their involvement with the church singing group. It was agreed that a staff member was to approach the church and asked would it be possible for Alison to volunteer and learn new skills in the mums and tots group.
As she was already known to the people who run mums and tots group in the church they were happy to agree that she could try out as a volunteer in the mums and tots group as long as she was supported while she was there by staff from the day centre.
Staff from the day centre supported Alison to integrate and develop skills working with children. Since then she has integrated well into the group and quickly developed confidence in working with children. It was not long before the staff from the day centre where in a position to have a conversation with the people running the mums and tots group and they suggested that the day centre could withdraw support as Alison was doing so well. It was agreed that the only input needed from the centre would be to support her to travel to her volunteer placement as she had few travel skills and one of the staff members from the mums and tots group support her back to the centre at lunchtime when the group is finished.
This has proved to be a really positive outcome for Alison, building her self-esteem and confidence and linking her with the local community doing a job she absolutely loves!
Barry lived with his parents in their house in the local community not far from Heswall Centre. Due to his learning disability he attended Heswall Centre five days a week for a number of years. He was involved in all aspects of activities provided by the service at that time.
Barry’s parents were very protective towards him. He was not allowed to go anywhere by himself and never had any of his money that he could spend of his own. He didn’t have any understanding of the value of money and didn’t even know the difference between coins.
When his mother passed away he stopped coming to the Centre and spent all his time with his father at home, supporting his needs.
In 2012 Barry’s father died which was very devastating news for him as he was left alone without any family support. The only relative that he had with contact was his sister. Not long after their father’s death she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and sadly also died in 2014.
After his father’s death Barry decided that he wanted to live by himself in the family home which wasn’t that easy as he needed a lot of support to do this independently.
Barry had to overcome a lot of confidence issues and needed to learn a lot of new skills in order to make his dream reality. After careful, personal centred planning and involvement of different professionals from social workers, advocates and staff, Barry was on the right track to achieve his dream.
- Barry wanted to ride a bike and to own one. With the support from professional services and staff at the Centre, he was able to complete a competency assessment, purchase his own bike and now he uses to travel everywhere.
- Barry has a dog and with a lot of initial support from staff he learned to be a responsible animal owner and now does everything that is required to look after animals properly.
- He is now able to travel on public transport independently.
- Initially he had 20 hours of support per week which now is reduced to 10 hours and carefully plan only around the areas that he needs support.
- He is purchasing one day at the centre and volunteers the other four days in order to help others and staff in variety of activities. This link with the staff has helped and supported him over the years and allowed him to have a sense of security and belonging. He feels a part of the support team and only asks rarely for support while volunteering.
- He is local gym member that he attends independently
- He volunteers at the bowling club and at the bike riding sessions for the disabled in Birkenhead Park.
- He attends his GP appointments independently.
- He purchased a mobile phone and a tablet. Of his own accord he started to take pictures of things that he was struggling with to understand and needed help, advice from staff to understand or just simply to communicate with.
- Barry has communication difficulties and that is the one of the biggest areas that he struggles with. Therefore special arrangements were put into place with emergency services to assist him in case of an emergency, in order to make him safe. He also uses technology and staff support.
Barry’s story proves that with the appropriate support at the start of the process with willingness, hard work, determination and dedication from staff from this service that were at every step of Barry’s journey his dreams became reality. Over a relatively short space of time he was able to live independently and in the same time due to his determination and hard work he was able to reduce the amount of support he requires. What is even more important is that Barry has become a person that is not only at receipt of support but helps and supports others in variety of different ways that gives him satisfaction and a real sense of achievement.
Eric is a 50-year-old gentleman who was referred from a day centre, where he had attended for many years whilst living in semi-supported accommodation. With limited social contacts, Eric wanted to increase his circle of friends, networks, and be more independent but had a quiet disposition and lacked confidence in social and work environments.
With support from the Best Bites team, Eric slowly began to develop kitchen skills and the ability to work as part of the team. He was soon interacting with his colleagues and developing good relationships.
This was achieved through regular reviews and Eric was involved in directing his support through action plans and focus on outcomes Tasks were broken down to enable Eric to gain knowledge, skills and the theory behind why we have to follow protocols and meet standards. Eric worked across all the venues within Best Bites and this gave him the experience and diversity to work with the general public and meet different cultural needs.
At times, Eric could become frustrated particularly when the environment was busy, and a lot of people were around him. The Best Bites staff team used coaching and mentoring skills to enable Eric to meet his aspirations and develop techniques to help him overcome these issues.
As Eric’s confidence and enthusiasm increased, he worked alongside the Best Bites team in organising outside catering and hospitality and can now adapt to any social setting with support from staff.
At the outset, Eric’s goal was to gain paid employment and to learn to drive. The Best Bites team supported him to complete his Food and Beverage Level 1, including Food Hygiene to meet the standards of Good Food Better Practice and to meet the standards of the Food Standards Agency.
Through consultation with Eric, the Best Bites team explored suitable employment venues to meet his needs. Ongoing support was provided to enable him to understand the interview process, and he was successful in gaining a position in a community café on a part-time paid basis.