Tara, the Local Area Coordinator, was first introduced to John through a friend of his from Church, who was concerned that John needed more support although knew John did not want Social Work involvement. This person searched online for appropriate local services and found the details of the Local Area Coordination Team on the local authority’s website.
John was diagnosed with a learning disability as a young child and attended a school for children with additional needs, in his early twenties he also suffered brain damage from a road traffic accident, which resulted in significant brain injuries and further physical disabilities. This also left John in a coma and upon waking John had to stay in hospital followed by stays in adult residential homes, followed by adult foster care and eventually John was given his own flat.
As a result, of these experiences John is fiercely independent and reluctant to seek out help, it took Tara a long time to build a trusting relationship with John and get him to a place where he feels in full control of his life again, whilst accessing support when appropriate.
John enjoys going out to coffee shops and chatting to people, although he expressed a wish to make friends. Tara introduced him to a number of groups and places, some of these didn’t go so well although some did, John had a great attitude and was willing to try anything that Tara suggested. One of the successful connections was the community breakfast club, which John attends every week. He has befriended a number of local people including a gentleman who he meets up with at other times of the week in local coffee shops. Despite having physical and learning difficulties it was important to John to start with the things he enjoyed to do, and made him feel better.
“The breakfast club is every Thursday… I am involved in the place with a man… it’s just to get out and about not to be stuck at home all the time.” John
Through getting to know John over time, Tara could see that John needed help to manage his household mail and financial decisions, Tara would assist him when necessary but also encouraged John to consider lifelong learning. John did want to improve his literacy and reading skills and as a result he now attends weekly classes which he enjoys.
“With all the paperwork that I get, half of it just goes in a folder. But Tara knows what to do, and what it’s all about… making sense of it all.” John
Tara has been able to build a good relationship with John, and as a result John has shared with Tara some of the problems he faces with his daily living activities. John had previously not seeked out further help as he doesn’t like to focus on what he can’t do as it makes him feel low, he also has negative experiences from his time in Adult foster care.
Over time and with John’s full consent Tara has been able to walk alongside John to tackle some of these problems; this may include contacting other services and professionals when appropriate such as Occupational Therapy and Social Services. Tara has also walked alongside John in accessing all the support he is entitled to with the help of Welfare Rights. John trusts Tara to act in his best interests and as a result, he has started to access the support he needs to lead his version of a good life. John feels in full control of his life whilst accessing support from the appropriate services.
“One of the ladies Tara brought down gave me two arm rests which I use every day to help me get out of bed, they are really helpful.” John
Tara will continue to walk alongside John with the help of other professionals and services where necessary, this will not only assist John in making sure he feels heard and he receives the support he wants. It will also assist the professionals and services to work in a timely and effective manner as Tara has worked with John for a considerable amount of time and knows him very well. Tara will also continue to support John to build natural relationships and network with other individuals, groups and services within his community.
“The support from Tara is a blessing… other people just do for them, whereas Tara does what you need, and she will come and see me. I like to think that I am a little bit better than what people can see me like… I like to do or try, even if it might take a little bit longer to do things.” John