Daisy – Support Brokerage

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Hi, my name is Daisy, I am a young lady of 24 years of age, I went to West Oaks School in Boston Spa, where I live with my family. When I left school at the age of 19, I went to a residential creative art college called Beaumont College, in Lancaster. I was there for 3 marvelous years, where my mum says I flew! The first year was very hard, learning to live away from home, making new friends, and making myself understood to people who did not know me. Thanks to my key worker Becky, I soon settled in and it was great. Mum said she knew I was happy there, when I would travel back and as soon as I got to my room and met with my friends, I would not talk to mum, because I wanted to be out and doing!

While I was at college I decided that when I came home, I wanted to live with my friend in a bungalow, employing our own staff, living in our local the village as we know people there and they know us, it is our community! I had tasted freedom and independence at college and wanted it to continue.

When I was at home during the college holidays we had a lot of get togethers with our friends and family where we talked about our future in a person centred way, this was great. People listened to what I wanted, and it was written and drawn onto huge sheets of paper that had been put onto the wall so that we could see it! It was all about me! Helping us to do this was Liz, a Support Broker, who is now my friend.

These get togethers helped me and all the important people in my life realise that I wanted to do things my way, I wanted to have freedom and flexibility and it seemed that having a Personal Budget was the way forward.

Thanks to Liz we were included in the Early Implementers Project with Leeds City Council. This was the councils first attempt at implementing Personal Budgets. Gosh, what a steep learning curve it was for us all. My mum says that we could not have done this without out the help of Liz; her support, guidance and advise. We had to decide what I would like to do with my life? Where would I like to go? What activities did I enjoy doing?

I decided that I would like to go to Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough, 3 days a week. I wanted to go riding, swimming, to visit the cinema when a good film was on, to visit the pub to see friends.  I love going to Fountains Abbey and I wanted the opportunity to go there when possible and to also be able to go away on holidays. After much talk and gnashing of everybody’s teeth we got a Support Plan together, with costings. My support plan seemed to be seen by a lot of different panels, I do not know who these panels are, but it did upset me that they only want to look at pieces of paper, and not actually meet me, get to know me, have a conversation with me and ask me the questions about my Support Plan.

The system is along way from been perfect!

Hooray the budget was passed and I could start to live the life I wanted.

Unfortunately, it all started off a bit rocky. The first thing we did was send out information to a number of providers about the support I as looking for and the budget I had available.  Those agencies that came back to express an interest in getting involved were invited to a providers day that we organised.  At the providers day me, my mum and Liz engaged in a conversation with each provider about what really matters to me, they had the opportunity to talk about what they did and how they would support me. We thought we had chosen the best one for me, but it wasn’t to be.

Four months down the road and we decided to parted company. I was left with no support but my mum, as much as I love my mum, I do not want to spend the rest of my life with her! There are some things a mum does not need to know! Things now got really tough I could not go to Henshaws as I didn’t have anyone to support me, I missed my friends and the sessions of music, fitness and sensory that I loved. It was a dark time.

Liz, encouraged us to not be defeated and talked to us about employing Personal Assistants, I would become an employer! I decided on the type of people I would like to work with me, we designed an advert together and had some posters printed that we used to advertise for PA’s. We had a lot of interest from people and after a number of interviews we got there.

There was a fortnight of training and induction for all the new PAs and I am now a trained First Aider “do you need my help?”!

Liz worked really hard for me, through this time, I would not be living the life I am without her, everybody should have their own Support Broker!

I now have a great team of people that work with me. I go riding, swimming, I go to Henshaws three days a week again, I love going to discos, visiting the pub, life is busy. I am a Henshaws Hotspot! We have concerts and people come and listen to us sing, its great!

There is still more to do, I definitely want my own place to live, I want to party! Liz is helping me with this, unfortunately Social Services are not in the same zone as us, they need to catch up, life is for living and that is what I intend to do. Watch this space!