Case Studies

Rob’s Story

At the age of 16, with ten years of broken school placements and four foster homes behind him, Rob arrived at South View Children’s Home three days before Christmas.

“I felt it was a rotten time of year for any young person to be joining us,” remembers Jim Proctor, South View’s registered manager. “But I spoke to the other boys and they were all adamant they wanted him to come and join us in time for the celebrations.”

That Christmas provided a turning point in Rob’s life. With the combined support of teachers and carers, the confused and very angry teenager started to settle down. Rob re-started his education at The Grange Therapeutic School near Oakham where the school’s nurturing and flexible approach gave him a chance to make great progress. In addition, Rob was given opportunities to learn valuable life skills, broaden his experiences, socialise and have fun like every other teenager.

Today, Rob has become an ambitious and independent young man. Having achieved GCSEs in English and History as well as BTec Level 2 in catering, Rob is now at college studying IT, business studies and tourism. He has completed work experience in a local charity shop and is hoping to move into his own place very soon.

“I’d never have imagined it or believed it could happen!” he says with a broad smile. “I smile all the time now. Everyone has really helped me, but I’ve done it myself.”

 

Curtis’ Story

When we first met him, his profound autism and associated learning difficulties meant his behaviour had deteriorated to the point that teachers couldn’t educate him and his Mum couldn’t cope.

Where others had reach the end of the line, we were there to help. “When I first met him, I was hugely motivated about what we might achieve for him and how we could go about it,” remembers Zoey Lees registered manager at Orchard View.

Our team then worked in partnership with local authorities, schools and Curtis’s mum to understand his behaviour and put in place a plan to help Curtis over come his fears, get him back into school and broaden his life experiences.

He’s now in full time education and is actively involved in life at Orchard View, doing chores, helping prepare meals and joining his friends on trips to the seaside, bowling and getting out and about on public transport.

We continue to work with Curtis to overcome his fears and have as much patience as he needs. Curtis speaks to his mum every evening; she visits him several times a week and even he visits her with his carer. In the future, we hope Curtis will be able to spend a night at home with his mum.

“Now, most of the time, it’s hard to believe he is the same child,” says Jenny, Curtis’ mum. “He still has his moments, of course, but he’s much calmer and I know he’s happy. The way all the staff work with my son is just fantastic.”

 

Katy’s Story

The day before Katy’s 1st birthday she was rushed to hospital with suspected meningitis. Four weeks later she started having seizures. Then came the devastating news that she had encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and central nervous system.

From a smiling healthy baby, she no longer knew her family and whilst they hoped she would recover, Katy was going to need full time care day and night. Katy lived at home with her two younger brothers until she was almost 18. At that point her mum accepted she needed full time professional carers.

“I found Little Acre with the help of my social worker: and when I walked in and felt the atmosphere here, it was instantly home from home,” remembers Katy’s mum. Since living at Little Acre, Katy has endured a series of further health problems, including pneumonia and an operation on her right hip. Throughout everything, we’ve partnered with the relevant healthcare professionals and have also been there to support her family.

At Little Acre, families have the reassurance that we are there for the children 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. Our children are monitoredevery 30 minutes throughout the night by two members of staff and an additional two are on duty if they are needed.

“Everything here has worked out so much better than I hoped,” says Katy’s mum. “The staff aren’t staff to me: they’ve become friends. I can phone and chat to them about my daughter, about her health, about her appointments. They consult me on everything. I’m still very much Katy’s Mum.”

Tom’s Story

When he was still young Tom was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum with associated learning difficulties. To help manage his condition, he’d been prescribed a cocktail of medication what resulted in rapid weight gain.

“Before we found The Orchards, we’d reached breaking point at home,” remembers Jude, Tom’s mum. “Tom’s behaviour was such that we were covered in bruises and scratches. We were prisoners in our home: we couldn’t take him out of the house because he would just throw himself on the floor and refuse to get up.”

“When Tom arrived at The Orchards he was clinically obese and couldn’t move very far before he, literally, dropped to the floor,” remembers Zoey Lees, manager at The Orchards. Tom also had little confidence, spoke only single words and was unengaged at school. However, we knew that this young man could flourish in our care.

Under doctors’ supervision, our team spent 12 months weaning Tom off the medication he was taking. The mixture of drugs had impacted his metabolism and as her stopped using them, the weight dropped off and Tom’s personality began to shine through.

“He is so much happier, more confident, much more active and exceeding his targets at school,” says Zoey proudly. ‘It’s fabulous progress.” Tom no longer needs a special diet, can participate in the same activities as the other children at The Orchards and has a great relationship with his family who he visits every other weekend.

“We’ve got our little boy back,’ says a delighted Jude. “When he left home we really were at breaking point. Now when he’s home we can enjoy him being here. You can’t put a price on that: it’s wonderful.”

Kirsten’s Story

“When I look back to where my life was a couple of years ago I know I’ve done well,” says Kirsten, who is part of the family at our Woodview home. “I’ve made progress and I’m back on the right track and going forwards in the right direction.”

When Kirsten arrived at Woodview her behaviour was out of control and she was clearly a troubled young woman crying out for attention. Having been excluded from mainstream education, we arranged for Kirsten to have one-to-one lessons for 16 hours a week from April 2014 to June 2015. The team at Woodview worked hard to prepare Kirsten for her lessons and make sure she was ready on time.

At home, the firm and fair boundaries have given Kirsten the security and consistency she needs and, over time, we’ve seen incredible improvement. Not only is Kirsten progressing with her education, she’s also started volunteering at a centre for young people in Nottingham.

“I’ve enjoyed working as a volunteer and helping other young people with their issues. Sometimes I’ve done 12-hour shifts but I like working there,” says Kirsten. “We help other young people with stuff like housing and benefits, and it feels good to have helped someone out with some of their problems.”

Kirsten now does her own budgeting, shopping and cooking as well as her own washing and cleaning. She’s making great progress toward semi-independent living.

Sam’s Story

When Sam moved to live at Bridge House from a residential school, he was on the autistic spectrum, had learning and language difficulties and ADHD. He arrived with a list of just ten processed foods that he’d eat and was really small for his age.

Like many families, his extreme behaviour and difficult sleeping patterns had caused huge strain and on his family and his parents had lost confidence. “Sam had become totally unmanageable at home,” remembers Jill, Sam’s mum. “We were at our wits end. His Dad couldn’t cope with Sam’s behaviour, his younger sister reached a point that she was afraid of him and his elder brother wouldn’t want to come home.” As a result, Sam hadn’t been to the family home or seen his brother and sister for two years.

The team at Bridge House understand that progress is often a slow process and are committed to supporting the children in their care for as long as it takes. Through very gradual changes and small steps, we’ve helped Sam to make some great improvements to his general wellbeing. Our team have also worked alongside Sam’s family to help them gain skills and the confidence to manage Sam at home. Now he has a healthy diet, is enjoying a new day school and loves going home to see his Mum, Dad, sister and brother twice a week.

“I shall never be able to thank them enough. Bridge House is one on it’s own,” says Sam’s mum delightedly. “It’s a happy family atmosphere and Sam has responded to it. The relationship Sam has now with the whole family is so much better. His sister is very protective towards him and his brother makes time for him. They’re all close now: I’m so pleased.”

Sam has a busy social life, attending a weekly youth club, and loves going out on buses, trams and trains with others from Bridge House. He’s also able to make his own choices. We call him ‘our little star’ because of the amazing progress he has made.