Ruth, one of the people we support in Leicestershire, turned presenter for a day at Affinity Trust’s management conference in September.
Speaking alongside Head of Development Lorraine Taylor, Ruth talked about her life before and since being supported by Affinity Trust.
In 2017, Ruth and Lorraine had presented at an external conference in Manchester. On that occasion, Lorraine said, “Ruth sat outside because she couldn’t bear to listen”. She hadn’t wanted to be reminded about her previous life – about her history of violence, and repeated admissions to hospitals and other secure units.
Before moving to Affinity Trust, Ruth had been living in secure hospital accommodation, which she found noisy and restrictive. Speaking to her audience of Affinity Trust managers, she said: “It was horrible”.
Having lived in secure accommodation for so long, Ruth was nervous at first about moving to a place of her own. “I didn’t know how to move on.” She wasn’t sure what life outside would be like.
Affinity Trust were told that, after a honeymoon period, there was the potential for Ruth to revert to her previous patterns of behaviour, which might mean re-admission to a secure unit.
But, in nearly three years, Ruth hasn’t been re-admitted once. The violence has stopped. And her use of medication has fallen from twice a day to twice a year.
With support from staff, Ruth has learned to clean, cook and manage her finances. She enjoys being out in the community, and has renewed contact with her birth family.
Summing up, Ruth said: “I can now make my own choices. I can be independent and have access to the community. Now it’s working really well for me.”