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‘I’m now ready to move on to independent living,’ Charlie, who’s supported by SIL, plans his next step

After two years of living in his own flat in a supported living service, Charlie’s now moved into his own home - and enjoys even more independence.

Yet for Charlie, who’s in his early twenties, the journey to independence hasn’t always been smooth.

Before moving to the supported living service, which is run by SIL, part of the Lifeways Group, Charlie, in his own words, “struggled a lot” with anxiety.

As a result of Charlie’s anxiety, living a normal life had become impossible. During a spell in hospital, Charlie was given options on his next steps.

In early 2020, he chose to move to a SIL supported living service in Hereford – where he currently lives, in his own apartment.

Once he moved in, Charlie began to pursue his love of music in a big way.

“I’ve loved music since I was little,” says Charlie. “My dad got me into rap when I was four and my mum loves reggae.”

Charlie’s favourite artists include Dizzee Rascal and Protoje - and he lists Chris Moyles as his favourite DJ.

Chasing the dream

Helped by a DJ set gifted from his grandfather, Charlie set out to realise his dream of becoming a radio DJ. He’s also learned to play the piano, and programme drum beats.

While living at the SIL service, Charlie also enrolled onto a music technology course at Shrewsbury College. Charlie makes the hour-long train journey to his course, three times a week.

“When I first moved in, I was too anxious to go on the train. I feel really confident getting the train now,” says Charlie.

When Charlie’s not busy mixing music, he follows football. He’s an ardent supporter of Shrewsbury FC, and regularly catches the train to his grandfather’s house to listen to Saturday afternoon matches on the radio.

Back at his apartment, Charlie relaxes by playing videogames on his Xbox – the FIFA football series, mainly – and watching films. Star Wars is a particular favourite.

‘Life is really good’

Charlie’s also got closer to his family since moving to the service.

“Mum keeps telling me she’s proud of me. She says that [living at the service] has really helped me a lot and made me more independent,” he says.

While Charlie has his own apartment, he’s also had the opportunity to spend time and make friends with other individuals who live in the same service.

“Before I came here, I didn’t have many friends,” says Charlie.

“[Now,] on a nice, warm summer’s day, I make myself a cuppa and socialise with my [neighbours] in the garden. Life is really good. I used to be very shy and I’m now very confident,” he adds.

Before moving to the supported living service, Charlie had never lived on his own.

As well as providing mental health support to help him feel less anxious and more comfortable in himself, Charlie’s support team at SIL have been helping him establish a daily routine and develop key life skills.

With the team’s support, Charlie’s learned how to cook, clean, and in his words, “look after myself really well.”

Charlie says that before moving to the service, he’d “never made a pot noodle before.”

Now, with his own kitchen, Charlie enjoys cooking his favourite dish, meatballs and pasta, as well as steaks and full English breakfasts.

A timetable in Charlie’s kitchen, put together with the support of SIL’s team, handily reminds him how to organise his day and plan his schedule. When you’re an aspiring DJ, time management is important!

What’s next for Charlie?

With his set of valuable life skills, new-found confidence, a passion for DJing and his college course, Charlie was ready for the next step.

This June, he made the move to a brand-new one-bedroom house, also in Hereford, just four minutes up the road from his earlier home.

Charlie’s house is part of a partnership between SIL, Hereford County Council and Connexus housing Association, which sees SIL provide floating support to a number of individuals.

Charlie also still enjoys socialising with his friends - but now invites them round to his new home. 

Congratulations, Charlie!

 

About SIL:

We believe there are still too many people currently in hospitals or institutional care settings who, with the right support and structure, would thrive in community settings. SIL provides specialist support and recovery services for people with complex mental health needs, supporting them to transition into their own tenancy.

Find and contact SIL services in your area.

SIL is part of the Lifeways Group.

About the Lifeways Group:

The Lifeways Group provides extraordinary support for working-age adults in the community.

We support adults with diverse and complex needs, including learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries, and mental health conditions. 

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