Hi, my name is Daisy, I am a young lady of 24 years of age, I went to West Oaks School in Boston Spa, where I live with my family. When I left school at the age of 19, I went to a residential creative art college called Beaumont College, in Lancaster. I was there for 3 marvelous years, where my mum says I flew! The first year was very hard, learning to live away from home, making new friends, and making myself understood to people who did not know me. Thanks to my key worker Becky, I soon settled in and it was great. Mum said she knew I was happy there, when I would travel back and as soon as I got to my room and met with my friends, I would not talk to mum, because I wanted to be out and doing!
While I was at college I decided that when I came home, I wanted to live with my friend Ant in a bungalow, employing our own staff, living in our village as we know people there and they know us, it is our community! I had tasted freedom and independence at college and wanted it to continue.
When I was at home during the college holidays we had a lot of get togethers where we looked at things in a personal centred way, this was great. People listened to what I wanted, and it was written and drawn onto paper that we put onto the wall so that we could see it! It was all about me! Helping us to do this was Liz, a broker, who is now my friend.
During these get togethers (we always had super refreshments!), we realized that we wanted to do things our way, we wanted to have freedom and flexibility, it seemed that having a Personal Budget was the way forward.
Thanks to Liz we got onboard the Early Implementers Project in Leeds, I became with my friend Ant, a Guinea Pig for Leeds City Council and their implementation of the Personal Budget. Gosh, what a steep learning curve it was for us all. My mum says that we could not have done this without out the help of Liz’s support, guiding and advising us. We had to decide what I would like to do with my life? Where would I like to go? What activities did I enjoy doing? We soon realized that we could not plan for living in our own bungalow as well as trying to achieve a personal budget, so we decided to concentrate on the here and now, and then to look at moving out.
I decided that I would like to go to Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough, 3 days a week. I wanted to go riding, swimming, visit the cinema, the pub, I love going to Fountains Abbey, and to be able to go away on holiday. After much talk and gnashing of everybody’s teeth we got a support plan together, with costings. My support plan seemed to be seen by a lot of different panels, I do not know who these panels are, but it does upset me that they only want to look at pieces of paper, and not actually meet me and ask me the questions why I have put down what I want to do.
The system is along way from been perfect! Hooray the budget was passed and I could start to live the life I wanted.
Unfortunately, it all started off a bit rocky. Amongst our many meetings we had asked a number of different providers of support workers to come along and tell us what they did and how they would support us. We thought we had chosen the best one for me, but it wasn’t to be. They only allocated one worker for me, there was never any cover when she was ill, I was not happy.
Four months down the road we parted company I was left with no support but my mum, as much as I love my mum, I do not want to spend the rest of my life with her! There are some things a mum does not need to know! Things now got really tough I could not go to Henshaws as I didn’t have anyone to support me, I missed my friends and the sessions of music, fitness and sensory that I loved. It was a dark time.
Liz, is not to be defeated and said right we are going to look at employing Personal Assistants, I would become an employer! With my friend Ant we decided on the type of people we would like to work with us, and had some posters printed that we would use to advertise the fact that we were looking for PA’s. It was difficult to find the right people, but finally after lots of interviews we got there.
There was a fortnight of training and induction, I am now a trained first aider “do you need my help?”!
Liz worked really hard for me and Ant, through this time, I would not be living the life I am without her, everybody should have their own broker!
I now have a great team of people that work with me and Ant. I go riding, swimming, I go to Henshaws 3 days a week again, I love going to discos, visiting the pub, life is busy. I am a Henshaws Hotspot! We have concerts and people come and listen to us sing, its great!
There is still more to do, I definitely want my own place to live, I want to party! Liz is helping me with this, unfortunately Social Services are not in the same zone as us, they need to catch up, life is for living and that is what I intend to do. Watch this space!