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Furlong Close, has launched a new programme to support tenants in gaining the vital skills they need for independent living.
The LIFE (Living Independently For Everyone) sessions invite tenants to suggest activities based on things they would like to learn, places they would like to go, and challenges they wish to overcome. The LIFE team, which consists of 5 support workers, then set out to make those desires a reality.
Furlong Close independent living
Agincare Enable took over as care provider for Furlong Close in Wiltshire in 2022, adding to its existing services across the south of England.
The former residential care home, which was saved from closure after a two-year campaign by families of the residents, has been repurposed to provide supported living in bungalows for 30 residents with complex needs.
The campus style layout of the site allows for independent living with support available whenever it may be needed from the Agincare Enable support team.
The new LIFE sessions have been introduced by Agincare Enable to encourage and facilitate greater independence for those they support.
Through feedback sessions, the LIFE team ask the tenants what activities they would like to do. From trips out to learning to cook a favourite meal, all suggestions are considered and activities planned.
Emma, Senior Support Worker for the LIFE sessions, explains,
We have a Voices that Matter group where the tenants come together to talk about any site news, concerns, any events we would like to celebrate or attend. We also talk about what we would like to achieve and about the LIFE sessions.
The Voices That Matter group meets every Wednesday and is a vital tool in facilitating independent living. Based on the activity, sessions are conducted on either a one to one basis, or as a group.
For Furlong Close tenant, Natalie, the LIFE sessions have given her the confidence to overcome one of her biggest fears; getting on a train.
Joining the LIFE group on a trip to Bath, Natalie decided that now was the time to confront her fear head on. Emma, adds:
Natalie had always dreaded getting on the train, but it was something she wanted to overcome. She wanted to go to Bath and the group really supported her to face that fear.
While this may have been a group day trip, it was really Natalie’s day. Facing that fear has given her a new found confidence and has enabled her to gain an added degree of independence.
A trip to Avebury
As we have seen in Natalie’s story, the supportive group environment plays a key role in the success of the LIFE sessions. Tenants are brought together to learn new skills and share in memorable moments.
Twice a week the LIFE sessions head off site with planned trips around the local area. Markets, museums and landmarks are popular destinations and with Avebury on their doorstep, it was the natural choice for one day out earlier this year.
A key component of independent living is being able to get out into the local community, something that the LIFE sessions encourage through these day trips.
LIFE independent living housekeeping skills sessions
When not enjoying trips out, the LIFE team deliver educational sessions that give tenants the skills they need to live independently in their own home.
Most recently, this has included housekeeping sessions, covering vital skills such as hoovering, ironing, identifying symbols on clothes and food labels, and cleaning.
Rupert, a new addition to the LIFE group, gained a lot from his session. He needed no support to make his bed and was a whiz with the hoover.
Tim also took part in the sessions, learning how to put his washing on without support and the art of making his bed. Next on his agenda is to learn how to make a cottage pie, one of his favourite meals.
LIFE cooking sessions
For many of the tenants at Furlong Close, learning to cook their favourite meals is high on their list of priorities. That’s why the LIFE sessions often include cooking classes.
Natalie loves cooking and is interested in learning to make some of her favourite meals in a healthier way. That’s why, in her cooking session, she made a healthy lasagne, using strips of courgette instead of lasagne sheets.
Matthew also wanted to improve his cooking skills and used his cooking session to make a delicious steak pie.
Vital independent living skills
Whether it’s trips out, learning to identify clothing labels, or making a steak pie, the LIFE sessions are giving the tenants at Furlong Close the opportunity to gain vital skills for independent living.
Peter Bates, Area Manager for Agincare Enable, expressed the incredible difference this support is having on the lives of the individuals using the service:
The LIFE service offered to the people we support at Furlong Close is absolutely unique. It offers individuals an opportunity to be supported to develop vital independent living skills using an intensive support method. The outcomes that are being achieved in the few short months that this service has been in operation have been incredible. I am so proud of the team, and most importantly, the people who are achieving these fantastic outcomes.
Agincare Enable provides day support, community outreach, respite and supported living services across the south of England.
Through our range of services, we are supporting people with complex needs to pursue their own ambitions, gain new skills and live as independently as possible.