What personalisation means to me and my team. Part one
As Max Bygraves would say I want to tell you a Story!
When I was 25, yes it seems another life, I got my first job with Scope or as we knew it then the Spastics Society.
As a consequence of this, they asked me to move out of the residential home I was living in. It was arranged, that I would receive support from CSVs, Community Service Volunteers, and so I moved into my first flat. Unfortunately for me, the CSV I was paired with turned out to be a psychopath. In the first week, I was out with friends in the pub when he made a pass at one of my friends. She sympathetically turned him down which resulted in him going ballistic. We had to rush home and barricade ourselves into my flat. That night was probably one of the longest nights of my life as the four of us stayed awake all night while he was banging on the door, demanding to get in and have his say.
The next morning, we managed to contact my social worker who came hurrying across, contacted the police, and had him sectioned. This, of course, left us in a dilemma: I could not return to the residential home without losing my job, so an alternative plan had to be hatched. It would have been quite easy both for myself and my social worker for me to go back into another residential home setting, but he had the foresight to see that this was an opportunity that if I missed this time I may not get a second chance. Between us, we discussed the options and he formulated the plan of bringing in a nursing agency to provide me with twenty-four hour care, which he then put forward to his manager. This they agreed to do. Remember, this was back in the eighties, and I was one of the first, if not the first, person to receive 24-hour care paid by Birmingham social services. The result of this is that I now live independently, employing my own staff, run my own business, and last year was one of the first wheelchair users, I think, to stand for parliament. I talk more about this experience in part two of this post.
The moral of this story is that if I had not had the support and the foresight of David Hatton, my social worker, and also the courage to take that step into the unknown, I do not know where my life would have led. In my case, not a step, of course, but a SPM, small purposeful movement. This, I think, shows the foresight of hope over fear, and the first essences of per sonalisation, because David saw me as an individual, rather than just another case on his workload.
I am very lucky to have been given somebody like David who was himself a wheelchair user and I think this had an influence on how we managed the situation. He also gave me the encouragement to take a step forward rather than retreating given the traumatic events of the previous night. In doing so, he gave me the opportunity and encouragement to see my potential and take the opportunities to view and reach for my horizons. Or as we like to say, he gave me hope.