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Lewis, Tom and Ryan's story

9 June 2016
Carol-Ann Bond

Tom, Ryan and Lewis lived in Golden Lane Housing community homes while attending college. After college life they moved back to their parents in Cumbria, but all they wanted was a place of their own.

“Eden Mencap and social services put us in touch with GLH after we’d been let down by another housing provider. We were almost there too, it was a huge shock and disappointment when it happened.

Tom, Ryan and Lewis started to get frustrated as they’d learnt all these independent skills at college, and started to go downhill really because they were not using them. That wasn’t what any of us wanted.

When Peter from GLH came to see us we explained that Tom, Lewis and Ryan wanted to live in Penrith as it’s central to all the families. He was honest and realistic, which we really appreciated. He explained it may take a while for the right property to become available as it’s a rural location scattered with holiday homes, so we waited.

We rang round the estate agents without any luck, we were feeling quite apprehensive about it all. GLH kept to their word, they rang to explain a property had been found which was down to local knowledge, and it hadn’t come on the market yet. The property had been empty for a year and the developer was now doing it up but it wasn’t quite ready.

We jumped at the chance! The first time we viewed it we knew it was going to be perfect for them. We went back for a second viewing. The work was not far enough down the line to move in, however by the third viewing it was almost there.

For the first week after the move they had staff sleeping in, this was reduced over the next four weeks and now they no longer need it. They are really enthusiastic, wanting to learn more skills so they can have less support in the future.

What a difference in such a short space of time! They’re all young lads in their twenties and having the time of their life, it’s a real lad’s pad. When we pop round, they tell us when it’s time to go, we are handed our bags and coats. It’s not just us either, when the house warming party was due to finish they were telling everyone it’s time to go home!

This was what we wanted more than anything. How comfortable and confident they all are now, they’re blossoming, it’s magic to see. Just wonderful.

It’s a new house and environment, they’d not lived in this area before so they’re getting used to the community and where everything is. Looking forward, the next step is to find some clubs and discos for them to go to, we’ll have a look around Penrith and maybe in Carlisle too.”

Simon, Lewis’ Father explains, “Lewis is really happy, it’s everything me and Joy wanted for him. But, as a Father I do miss him being around, we have such a good laugh, and know the other parents miss their sons too. Ha, I’ve made an excuse to go round to his house, so we have chocolate éclair Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it means I get to spend a couple of hours with him before he’s off out doing something else! This whole set up is fantastic and he’s not going to be a 50 year old man stuck at home with us, instead he’s getting out there and experiencing life. Now he’s moved, we’ve got peace of mind for his future.”

“We’re best mates forever, and we love it here,” says Lewis.

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