‘It’s about time I live my own way’: Kyle, 18, moves from specialist school to a purpose-built Lifeways supported living service in Sutton-in-Ashfield
Kyle, who’s 18 years old, made the transition this summer from his specialist school to Mulberry Lodge, a Lifeways supported living service for 14 adults in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.
The move was a big change for Kyle, who lives with autism, ADHD and a physical condition. His specialist residential school in Chester was a two-hours drive from Sutton-in-Ashfield. Thankfully, Kyle was supported to make the transition by his mother, who lives close to Mulberry Lodge.
Mulberry Lodge, which opened last year, is made up of 14 self-contained one-bedroom apartments – all of which come with built-in assistive technology and integrated appliances.
This means every individual at Mulberry Lodge has their own front door. The supported living service offers the best of both words: privacy and independence; with support, the company of other individuals, and the community when desired.
So how’s Kyle getting on at his home at Mulberry Lodge?
“It truly is a dream come true for me,” says Kyle, who only recently left school and had been looking to transition to his next life stage.
“The freedom is breathtaking.” Kyle is blunt about his recent past. “Life was so dark with every day as a struggle,” he recalls.
‘I am no longer scared’
Since Kyle’s moved into Mulberry Lodge, he’s been forming ties with his support team. “The staff make me feel really happy.”
“It is the first time I truly feel like I am making a friend,” he says about Emma, one of his support team members.
“As time has moved forward, I have grown to understand more about friendships and relationships. I am no longer scared,” Kyle says.
“I feel I can make friends now,” he adds. “I just feel I am awakening to a new beginning, here I am, feeling like I can make my own life stand; something I previously thought to be impossible.”
Kyle adds: “I feel I am making extremely good progress.”
Now Kyle’s where he wants to be, he’s got a new sense of urgency to live how he chooses.
“I am the only one standing in my way. It’s about time I live my own way.”
Helping Kyle make the transition from school to the supported living service was Lifeways’ regional Enquiry, Referral and Assessment Manager, Kieran Money.
“Supporting someone like Kyle to move into his own home is what makes this job rewarding,” says Kieran.
“Kyle was at times apprehensive at the beginning of this assessment and transition process – which is completely understandable given how significant this kind of move can be for each individual.
“However as time went on, and as Kyle built relationships with his new support team, his apprehension evolved to excitement.”
Kieran adds: “Kyle was involved throughout and was happy to meet with the team before making a decision about moving. Kyle’s confidence has grown significantly in his first couple of months at Mulberry Lodge. He continues to be excited and wants to embrace his new-found independence.”
How to make the transition to adult services:
Moving from children’s to adult services can be a daunting decision – and a time of upheaval for both the individual who’s moving and their family. There’s a lot to think about and do, including:
- finding out the first steps to get support
- searching for suitable services in your area
- contacting and talking to new people
- and finally, to securing support and making the move!
Thankfully, you don’t have to take any of these transitional steps this alone.
Here at Lifeways, whether you’re an individual seeking support, or a funder, parent, or guardian, our team can help guide you through the process, and assist you to plan for a smooth and successful transition.
To find out more about the process of transitions to adult services, check out our nine-page downloadable PDF brochure entitled Supporting you to live independently: our guide to transitioning to adult services.
More about Mulberry Lodge:
Completed in 2020, Mulberry Lodge is purpose-built to support up to 14 adults who live with learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, brain injuries, or mental health conditions.
Mulberry Lodge is just five minutes’ walk from the town centre of Sutton-in-Ashfield. The town centre has cafes, pubs and restaurants, high-street banks, a post office and a library.
Mulberry Lodge is part of Lifeways.
At Lifeways, the UK’s largest team of support professionals providing support for adults in the community, 11,000 colleagues support close to 5,000 individuals who live in our 1,5000 supported living and residential services across England, Scotland and Wales.
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