A person we support has just moved to Birdhurst Rise. He spent 2 years without accessing the community or leaving his old service as he did not want to go outside. When he moved into Birdhurst Rise, he was very reluctant to even get on public transport, and had to walk from his old service in Beddington when he moved in to Birdhurst, which was about a 45 minute walk. Staff at Birdhurst were adamant that they would help him to increase his confidence and independence and get him out in the local community.
Staff were initially worried that he would take a long time to settle into the home as he had been so reluctant to even leave his room at his old service. However, because of the space at Birdhurst, he actually settled in a lot quicker than they had anticipated. Staff quickly thought of ways to help him feel comfortable enough to leave the service and integrate into the community. They were especially worried because he refused to go to GP or dentist appointments, which could potentially carry dangerous consequences. Staff realised that he loved litter picking and so they bought him a litter picker. Staff took him out slowly at first, in 15 minute increments so that he would get used to being outside, where they helped him to pick up all the litter he saw. They also operated a reward system, allowing him to buy his favourite snacks if he successfully completed time out in the community. Over time, he really conquered his fears, with staff supporting him to go to the shops, the dentist and even take public transport and taxis. Yesterday, he even went into Croydon via bus and had a brilliant time, picking up litter and seeing all the buses!
A huge congratulations to everyone involved for enabling him to conquer his fears and simultaneously do something good for the community.