Robert (27), Daniel (35) and Frank (25) all have various learning difficulties and have lived together for many years. They moved into their Grand Union house in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, in November 2018, from a bungalow that was in need of some repair; there was damp and mould, a broken shower and other issues that weren’t being addressed by their landlord.
Their new home is spacious, warm and comfortable and all three young men settled in very quickly.
Robert said: “Our last house was rubbish, it wasn’t a nice place to live; it was like living in a box.
“It’s lovely here. It’s a quieter area and more relaxing. And we have more space – an upstairs and a downstairs.
“This house is much warmer in the winter than the last one; it was very draughty.
“Where we lived before it was harder to get to the bus stops and to cross the roads. Here we can go out by ourselves more so we can be more independent.”
Robert, Daniel and Frank all receive support from Marcus Olozulu, one of Grand Union’s Independent Living Officers, and their own key worker, with care workers in attendance 24/7.
Marcus said: “This house is so much better than their last home. It’s bigger, more comfortable and they have such good outside space with a front and back garden and a large patio area. It will be Robert’s birthday soon and a party on the patio is being planned!
“There’s a large, modern open plan kitchen-diner with integrated appliances. They take it in turns to do the cooking, though occasionally it can take a lot of prompting!”
In between their chores of cooking and doing their washing, the three young men have plenty to keep themselves busy in the week; Frank is very artistic (with three catalogues of artwork) and he also goes to the gym, swims, walks around the lakes, and enjoys gardening with Branch Out Milton Keynes, a community organisation that supports adults with learning differences through social and therapeutic horticulture.
Robert also attends Branch Out, as well as helping out in the British Heart Foundation’s charity shop in Bletchley two days a week and he is also learning to play the piano. He also enjoys regular visits to the ‘Groovy Gecko’, a monthly club night for adults with disabilities at the Slug and Lettuce in central Milton Keynes, though he was keen to point out that they keep playing the same music over and over again!
Daniel works in the cafeteria at Stantonbury School and also volunteers at the Thrift Farm a few days a week.
Recently all three enjoyed a seven-day cruise around the Mediterranean with two support workers where they experienced various shows and events onboard the ship, as well as day trips to Monaco in the South of France and Pisa in Italy.
Marcus added: “They are really good friends and enjoy each other’s company, but it’s clear that moving to this home has made a real difference to their lives. They are more relaxed, happier and more independent.”