Derek lives in Rotherham and has a sister who lives in South Africa. Maintaining contact with his sister is quite hard for Derek at times, but regular contact with his sister is important to Derek. With help from Mencap's personal support and housing service Derek was able to purchase his own internet enabled computer. Derek went on to learn how to email his sister whenever he wants to.
Communication has been made much easier, and the email system means that Derek can spend time preparing and writing what he wants to say before sending it off. Derek's sister can then access the email whenever she is available, and respond in her own time. This process is much quicker than writing a letter, and is at a deeper level than what can be achieved through a phone call. It also makes it easier for photographs to be sent and having photographs and visual images means Derek is able to understand their communication more.
Once every 2 years Mencap's personal support and housing staff support Derek to make the arrangements to visit his sister in South Africa. This is an expensive visit, and staff work with Derek to figure out ways of saving up for the trip. Derek has to save very carefully to afford the flight for this long journey and also the costs of the support necessary to get him there.
Derek books and pays for the journey and Mencap staff support Derek to travel to the airport. Arrangements are made for a chaperone to be available on the flight. Derek is then met at the airport in South Africa by his sister.
By having support from Mencap's personal support and housing, Derek is given the opportunity to communicate with his sister as he wishes and be independent by arranging and paying for his travel to visit her. Support workers help Derek make supported decisions about his own life.