David on his laptop

David, 69, was delighted to be given a home of his own in one of our supported schemes in St Albans, that was refurbished last year. He now has his own front door as well as a spacious bedroom, a modern open plan living room and kitchen and an accessible wet room.

When David first moved to Upper Lattimore Road 20 years ago, it was very different. At that time the building was a six bedroomed care home, with residents sharing communal living and kitchen facilities.

Sarah has been working for Walsingham Support, the specialist care providers at Upper Lattimore Road, for 15 years.

Sarah says: “Although the residents didn’t know each other when they first moved in and hadn’t chosen to live together, David is very easy-going and has got to know them well.

“He was moved to temporary accommodation in Hatfield while the place was being refurbished and was there for a year. But in Hatfield, David had to rely on the staff, because he’s not familiar with the area.

“He was very excited about coming back to St Albans because he’s very fond of it here.

“In lockdown David had no freedom, he just couldn’t wait to get his own place; you could see the delight on his face coming back here!

“David has always liked the idea of having a place of his own because he’s a quiet man; he likes his own space and hates being rushed.

“He used to go to the day centre in St Albans, but about five years ago he said he wanted to retire. Now he decides how he wants to spend his day.

“He’ll happily walk into town to go to the library to borrow books, go to the shops to buy a new notebook or something for his laptop, or go for a coffee. Sometimes a member of staff will go with him for a cup of coffee, then David will go off and do his own thing afterwards.

“He loves his laptop and loves watching films, Christmas films in particular, or children’s TV – programmes he watched when he was a child. He also reads a lot, especially about phobias, and he likes to write things down.

“He’s also into astrology so he’ll often ask people for their star sign and tell you all about it!

“We go shopping once a week for groceries, trying to steer him towards healthy eating. David has support with cooking his meals, but he can make his own sandwiches, snacks and hot drinks.”

There are three further flats at Upper Lattimore Road, together with a staff area for the care team who are there round the clock, and a communal garden for the residents to enjoy sunnier days.

Grand Union’s Partnerships Coordinator, Hayley, says: “The architects have done a great job with designing Upper Lattimore Road.

“There’s a sizeable cupboard installed on the ground and first floors, which would allow for a lift to be installed should it be required in the future, to assist with a resident’s mobility.

“It’s been so well thought out, it’s hard to imagine how it used to look, though David can remember where everything used to be!”

Sarah adds: “There’s a much nicer atmosphere here now. It’s so clean and bright.

“We can see the residents on an individual basis so it’s much more person-centred. Working with a small number of residents is good, because keeping up with support plans is much more doable.”

This supported living scheme for adults with learning difficulties is our fourth refurbishment in Hertfordshire. High Oaks, also in St Albans, was completed in August 2018, Baker Street in Potters Bar in December 2019 and Beacon Way in February 2021.