Ben came to Regard from school in Wiltshire. This is the story of his move, written by his mother, Isobel.
‘Ben came from Fairfield Opportunity Farm College in Dilton Marsh, nr Westbury, Wiltshire. He was there for three years. Before that, he was at St Mary’s School, Bexhill-on-Sea for 12 years.
My husband Neil and I had visited Ivers House a few years earlier when we were looking at places for Ben’s next older sister, also special needs. We remembered it and thought it might suit Ben so we contacted Regard ACH in late 2014.
Staff at Ivers House visited Ben at Fairfield College in order to get an impression of him and his complex needs. I then took Ben and spent half a day at Ivers, Staff were sympathetic when he was nervous and rather quiet. The main thing which helped was being able to visit several times so that he could become familiar. We requested this and staff were happy to accommodate us. A couple of weeks before he was due to move in we brought down some of Ben’s bedding and a chair to put in his bedroom.
The day of moving in was a little traumatic. Ben was very nervous and did not want me to leave. However, Ben’s allocated carer Andy was very kind and when I asked if he would quickly engage Ben with an activity he responded positively. By the time I had to run back in with a cake that I had forgotten to unpack and didn’t want to take home Ben was in the kitchen, preparing a drink and a snack. The key to Ben’s happiness and well-being is keeping him occupied and active.
Ben’s assessment of his transition, a week later when he came home for the family holiday, was to say that he liked the staff. In such a setting when many of the other residents have severely limited language, it has taken longer for Ben to form positive relationships with them. However, that has grown with support and scaffolding from staff.
Gina Markham, Registered Manager at Ivers, said, ‘Ben regularly attends the T-Bar in Sturminster Newton and is a valued member of the team there. He is very active, works at Thorngrove Garden Centre and is an absolute delight to be around! Since moving to Ivers I have watched him grow in confidence and he is a superb role model for others who are transitioning from College to residential services’.
Regard’s Head of Communications, Guy Page, who helped Ben’s family liaise with the local authority said, ‘We are aware that the transition from school to an adult service is an extremely anxious time for a family. We will always take a flexible approach to this based on an individual’s needs.
‘Sometimes delays are caused by initial funding requests being turned down due to a lack of information or if costs are perceived as not being value for money. With Ben, we invested time and effort in providing clear costs before the panel agreed funding. Consequently, funding was quickly agreed, enabling all parties to concentrate on planning Ben’s move. We are delighted to be able to support him at Ivers’.