Achieve together is a specialist support provider that is leading the way in the UK’s social care sector. With over 25 years of experience, the organisation supports thousands of autistic people and people with learning disabilities, people who are d/Deaf and or have complex needs.
Many people Achieve together support come from long-stay environments. Lots of these people have complex needs and are thriving with the support of Achieve together’s care homes and services.
This is the story of Marcus, one individual who has benefited from moving into an Achieve together home. Marcus transitioned from a long-term hospital stay to a self-contained flat within an Achieve together home. With specialist support from the organisation’s highly skilled team, the move has proven life-changing for Marcus.
Over the past few decades, the national policy in the UK has gradually shifted towards a social model of support. Despite this progress, some people still find themselves trapped in institutional settings.
Marcus was one such person: He spent 24.5 years in a secure hospital unit in Manchester. Now in his forties, Marcus is autistic and profoundly Deaf.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the team at the hospital Marcus was living in reached out to one of Achieve together’s care homes. The team was seeking a new home for Marcus, that could meet his specific needs and challenges.
Another person enjoying a happy, fulfilling life at the home had successfully transitioned from the same Manchester hospital unit years ago.
This particular Achieve together home’s team specialises in supporting people who are d/Deaf or deafblind. Additionally, the team is well-equipped to support people who:
- Experience periods of emotional stress.
- Face mental health issues.
- Exhibit behaviours which may challenge.
Over the course of a year, team members from the home visited the hospital several times. During their visits, they got to know Marcus, his background, and his situation.
During an initial assessment, the team identified a few risks that needed more in-depth investigation and handling.
Being Deaf with Asperger’s, Marcus had a direct, straightforward communication style. As a result, some of his past statements had raised concerns. However, the home’s manager Gary Stubbs emphasises that Marcus had never acted on any of these remarks.
Stubbs and the Achieve together assessment and placement team collaborated with Marcus and his funding authority to arrange some overnight visits.
The purpose of the visits was to observe how Marcus adapted to the new environment and assess any potential risks. The visits would also allow Marcus to interact with the other people living at the home.
Marcus received additional support during the overnight stays to ensure his comfort. Stubbs reported that the visits went smoothly, and Marcus expressed his genuine enjoyment of the experience. To help Marcus reflect on the visit, the team kept a journal of his activities and experiences.
At first, Marcus had planned to stay for just two nights during his visit. The experience went so smoothly that he decided to move into the home straight away.
The Achieve together care home that Marcus moved into is a registered residential home. However, each person who lives at the home has a self-contained flat with a bathroom and mini kitchen.
Although Marcus felt understandably anxious about such a significant change, the team gave him their dedicated support. This support enabled Marcus to swiftly adapt to his new environment and lifestyle.
Initially, Marcus faced several challenges in adapting to his new lifestyle. As a result of his time spent in an institutionalised setting, Marcus had to undergo a process of reskilling himself. He was also unaccustomed to going out due to the restrictions of the secure hospital unit.
To address these challenges, Marcus’ support team devised a comprehensive plan to help him learn important life skills. The specialised support the team provided draws upon the Wheel of Engagement. Achieve together uses this person-centred framework to develop care and support plans tailored to each individual.
Gradually, Marcus’ confidence grew. He began taking on responsibilities at a pace that suited him. Now, three years later, Marcus has achieved significant progress. He happily manages tasks like shopping, cooking, and cleaning with support.
On first moving into the home, Marcus had an extensive list of dislikes. As he has gained more life experience, this list has diminished.
Marcus has also shown remarkable progress in managing his emotions. Thanks to the specialist support the team at the home provides, Marcus has adopted positive coping strategies. These strategies have allowed him to successfully reintegrate into the community.
The Wheel of Engagement identifies community inclusion as one of the factors that can allow people to lead happy, healthy and satisfying lives. Community inclusion for those Achieve together supports can look like:
- Joining community groups.
- Raising money for local charities.
- Organising and taking part in community events.
In a recent episode of the Wheel of Engagement podcast, representatives from Achieve together, Unity and Campaign 4 Change discussed people with additional needs being part of the community. The episode also explored the barriers they may encounter.
People who live in Achieve together homes receive the support needed to access their local communities. Each home’s team focuses on helping people engage with the community in a range of ways. These ways might include joining clubs, dining at local restaurants, or accessing educational opportunities.
Marcus continues to cherish his newfound freedom and independence and enjoys being part of his local community.
Marcus’ social worker says his progress is a testament to the outstanding support the home’s team has provided. This support has empowered Marcus to become more self-reliant.
Marcus appreciates his solitude and often spends evenings in his flat. However, he attends seasonal events, like the Christmas carol concert in British Sign Language. He also visits local d/Deaf events independently or with team members.
Reflecting on his journey, Marcus feels happy with his decision to move into his new home.
Achieve together’s care homes provide 24/7 specialised support and facilities for adults with autistic spectrum conditions, learning disabilities and complex needs.
Achieve together believes that choosing the right home goes beyond merely finding a place to live. Each of the organisation’s homes is unique and suits the specific needs of the individuals the home supports.
One aspect that stays constant across all Achieve together care homes is their incredible teams. The organisation’s team members take immense pride in their work. Each home’s team feels passionate about helping people they support enjoy independent, fulfilling lives.
Achieve together’s homes offer a variety of activities, which provide opportunities for people to explore new experiences. Achieve together also ensures those living in the organisation’s homes have access to the latest equipment and technology that cater to their unique needs.
Stimulating sensory rooms, accessible bathrooms, hydrotherapy options, hoists or ceiling tracking can all help create a welcoming, fit-for-purpose home. Some Achieve together care homes even feature on-site swimming pools and sensory gardens.
Compared to supported living settings, certain homes also offer increased opportunities for social interaction due to the larger number of people residing together.
Achieve together supports people with various aspects of their journey towards living in one of its homes, such as:
- Exploring available funding options for residential care support.
- Providing insights into what life is like in a residential care home.
- Identifying nearby care homes.
- Assisting with the application and referrals process.
- Offering guidance on the timeframe involved in finding and transitioning to their preferred home.
Moreover, Achieve together care homes provide specialised services in collaboration with local and national experts and organisations. This collaboration enables the organisation to curate dedicated teams of professionals tailored to each person’s specific needs.
Teams may consist of:
- Language and speech therapists.
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) specialists
- Positive behavioural support practitioners.
- Dementia specialists.
- End-of-life support specialists.
- Specialists who cater to individuals with profound and complex needs.
The exceptional quality of the organisation’s support ensures people can feel confident and safe when choosing Achieve together as their care provider.
Learn more about Achieve together care homes.
Achieve together, with over two decades of expertise, is one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist support for those with:
- Deafness and/or hearing loss.
- Learning disabilities.
- Profound multiple learning disabilities.
- Associated complex needs, such as mental health conditions and behaviours which may challenge.
The organisation supports more than 2,300 young people and adults in over 420 homes and services across England and Wales.
Achieve together empowers individuals, enabling them to develop valuable life skills and healthy relationships. In turn, these experiences can help individuals build their confidence and self-esteem.
The organisation’s vision is to offer exceptional specialist support and empower people to live joyful, healthy and meaningful lives.