Peter has been supported by Affinity Trust since late 2019 – and, since lockdown restrictions were eased, he has made great progress.
Before being supported by Affinity Trust, Peter was in residential care. Now he is happily living in his own bungalow in Cannock.
Peter, in his 50s, has autism and can read and write. He loves reading encyclopaedias, but avoids TV as the news can make him anxious.
Over the summer, Peter started going to Chase Leisure Centre for a sensory session. Noticing the pool, he asked if he could go swimming.
With Peter’s autism in mind, staff introduced him to this step-by-step. First, Peter just visited the pool, with his support worker Sharon. Then he went back to watch others swimming. Then staff showed him photos of the pool. Finally, he got changed and it was into the pool itself – although, says Karen Hipkiss, Support Manager, “We’re not past the knee yet”.
Peter now goes to the pool once a week – a big achievement, says Karen, as he usually likes his own space.
Peter has also started taking drumming lessons – something he first did as a child. He looks forward to the lessons but can get over-excited. So staff wait till the day before to tell him he has a lesson, and don’t put the lessons on his calendar.
Peter has made progress in other ways. Before being supported by Affinity Trust, travel in the community was complicated as he had to go in a minibus with two staff, one sat either side of him. Now, he needs just one member of staff, and can travel in a car.
Peter is calmer than he was, and is also communicating more, with a wider range of staff. Peter can get upset if it starts raining unexpectedly, so staff keep him updated about the weather forecast.
Overall, says Karen, Peter’s has been a real success story: “Absolutely, this guy is a star”.