After struggling with anxiety in busy public places for a long time, Niels has embraced his independence and found a new sense of enjoyment for trips out thanks to the support of the team at Vernon Close.
Dean, service manager of supported living service Vernon Close, East Sussex, said: “Niels has always struggled with any form of crowds, if he was walking down the street and there was a crowd of people he would get quite upset and whatever activity he was doing would have to end.
“Niels didn’t like going to the supermarket because it involves a lot of queuing, anything which involves waiting around would be quite distressing for him, and the same would apply for restaurants and cafes.
“We decided now lockdown restrictions have eased it was the right time to help Niels overcome his anxiety, and support worker Phil put a lot of planning into a small trip out for Niels. Niels has a dietary requirement, which can lead to waiting around while we find out if a café can cater for him. Phil called ahead to make sure the café at Tesco was suitable, and communicated to Niels about what the plan was and made sure he wanted to go.
“The trip to the supermarket at his milkshake afterwards went really smoothly, Niels felt really comfortable. So much so that he suggested going to a nearby charity shop to look for CDs. He then said he wanted to go and look at the police cars, and after that he went to the train station to watch the trains. What started off as being a short trip ended up being a day out, and Niels had such a great time.
“Niels has been deciding what he wants to do and when he wants to do it, and support workers Phil and Ian have enabled Niels to have even more independence by supporting his trips and researching in advance to reduce any anxieties Niels might have.
“I’m really proud of my team, it could be easy to fall into the mindset of ‘Niels doesn’t like to go shopping so we do it for him’, but we’re here to push those boundaries and support Niels to be independent and involved in his tasks. People might think being a support worker is about feeding and washing people, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about supporting people to live a fulfilled life and doing the things they love.
“We’re currently looking for new support workers to make a difference with us at Vernon Close, so if you’re forward thinking, can adapt to change and want a career with variety, join our meet the manager event on Monday 16 August to chat to me and deputy manager Emily about what it is like to work in care.”