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Sarah’s story….

26 Nov 2015

Sarah Mitchell’s pathway has taken her from secure hospital, to Precious Homes’ Alnwick Road then Oster House, and finally into her own flat in the community.

With each move Sarah has grown in independence and steadily needed less support. All of the team at Precious Homes is very proud of how well she is doing and continues to do.

Sarah’s story is a demonstration of how individuals who have been failed by the system can make huge progress with personalised support that really addresses their needs and which is delivered by highly trained staff.

Sarah recently appeared at the Autism Show in Birmingham and spoke publicly for the first time about her own experiences. This was an outstanding achievement for her personally and she inspired other individuals to not be afraid to do the same.

This is her Story

How did you find your move to Oster House initially?

I actually liked it when I first moved there, and I remember saying to the manager at the time, “I think this place is great, I want to live here forever!” But I didn’t know anybody and I found that very daunting. I’d come from a secure setting to a place where I could come and go as I please, and I wasn’t used to it.

How did staff at Oster House support you to become more independent?

The staff at Oster House were great. They helped build my confidence, and made me realise that I can do things if I put mind to it. They were always there when I needed that extra push to get where I wanted to be.

You became increasingly independent and your support hours continuously decreased. Did you find anything difficult at this point?

Yes and no, I didn’t find it too difficult, because it was done very gradually, but I did struggle a little bit when I moved which is why my hours were increased for a while.

How did you manage those difficulties?

When I was in hospital I had numerous therapies, and one of the therapies I had was anger management. I learnt to talk about stuff when things were getting on top of me, rather than just flying off the handle. So that’s what I used to do. I used to say hey, this is what’s wrong, then we’d work through it.

How were you involved in the decision to find you an independent flat to move into?

There was a big meeting with myself, staff and managers at Oster and my social worker. We came to the decision that it was time for me to move on and got in touch with a housing organisation called Golden Lane Housing. With the help of the staff at Oster I was able to find my own flat.

How did volunteering at MENCAP help you?

It’s help build my confidence and it’s also helped me to understand that people are different and nobody is the same, and it’s ok to be different, it’s good to be different.

Can you tell us your favourite things about living in your own flat?

Freedom. My own space, I can come and go as I please, I can do what I like. And the quiet, I love the quiet.

You have put in a huge amount of work over 3 years to move into your flat and you have achieved a huge amount. What have you found most difficult?

Self doubt. There were quite a few times where I moved from Oster to my own flat where I thought, I can’t do this.

What are you most proud of?

The fact that I have achieved something that nobody ever thought I would achieve. They all told me I was a no hoper, when I lived in Swindon, I was a no hoper, a waste of space, and that I’d never make anything of my life. But that’s a load of rubbish because I have.

Have you got any advice to other individuals and professionals in relation to transitions?

When you’re told that you can’t do it, don’t believe them, because you can. There is no such thing as not being able to do something. You have to have faith in yourself and self belief and you will achieve anything.

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