Joel (or ‘Mr Fabulous’ as he likes to be known!) has lived in one of our supported living homes since March 2016.

Joel is a member of our Involved Partnership Group, which gives feedback on our independent living services. The group usually meets four times a year and discuss a range of issues that affect them and their homes, including health and safety in the home, wellbeing matters, money management, customers’ rights and choices in their homes, like new kitchen units.

The group hasn’t met since January 2020 due to the pandemic, but will resume meetings when it is safe to do so.

Joel has been finding lockdown difficult as he misses seeing his family, friends and his volunteering community, but he’s been using Facebook and video calls to keep in touch with them.

Twice a week 26-year-old Joel attends ‘What’s the Drama’, a service for adults with both physical and learning difficulties where they can follow their interest in the theatre, performing, dancing and singing.

“At college, drama was one of the things I loved. I enjoy helping others at the drama group, as well as making connections and new friends. I like acting and making people laugh.

“After lunch me and my drama friends sometimes have a dance practice in another room. We put a song on, usually African Gospel music, and I film it as they follow my moves. I save the video and do my own version with a mix of the videos, looking like everyone’s watching TV in the background.”

Joel is also missing his Wednesday afternoons working in a café at Milton Keynes Council offices.

“I was nervous when I first started there, but now I love it. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I hadn’t worked there before, I’d only worked at the college on Bletchley campus. I met new people who were nice and friendly and I got along with them. I love the café – I work on the till and take orders, and I know how to make hot chocolate! If I make a mistake, I ask for help.”

On Thursday afternoons you’ll normally find Joel helping out at Wolverton library.

“I started at the library in September last year. When I arrive I see my manager, but I know what I have to do. I scan books and I put them in the right order on the shelves.”

Joel is very independent but admits: “I do struggle with some things, but my support worker helps me to understand if I’m not sure about something.

“I think people see me as talented and hard-working, so they know where I will be able to help others. When I’m around other people they feel happy and positive and they want me to be there for them. I am very grateful for that.”