Karen – East Lothian

I lived with my parents until the age of 40. I had always wanted to live independently but due to my health problems this was not an option till recently. Several organisations and people had an influence on my life to enable me to live independently.

I attended Garvald Day Centre and learned a lot of new skills. I was shown what buses I needed to get there and once there, I was shown how to cook, bake and sew. We also did drama and put on shows at a local church. I also learned how to refurbish old tools which were sent to Third World countries by the Council. I learned the names of a lot of tools too.

My Nana (my Mum’s Mum) taught me how to wash my own clothes, hang them up to dry and then to iron. I can do this all independently now.

nine years ago I got the opportunity to try to live in a house by myself.

Although I knew how to cook, it was still too dangerous for me to do this by myself as I am very unsteady on my feet and am at risk of falling and burning myself.

However, nine years ago I got the opportunity to try to live in a house by myself. This meant everything to me. I can make my own breakfast and lunch and with YOU support me every evening to make my cooked meals, apart from a Saturday as I go to my parents then. I even do my Mum’s ironing for her now when I visit! Support staff help me around the house too but mainly I can do most things for myself.

Support workers assist me to attend a weekly bowling club and they support me to the shops to buy my food and even sometimes clothes shopping. It is great to be supported with social activities as well as the everyday things.

Two years ago I moved to my new home. I love it. My Dad has made the garden low maintenance and I have the inside looking very nice. I am really happy here and it is a dream come true for me to be able to be independent. I could not do this without the support I have in place.

I have one very special friend that I see now and then for dinner too. I’ve known her from school and I love meeting up with her.

I now also do 4 voluntary jobs which keeps me busy. I work in 2 libraries, a hairdressers and a charity shop. The hairdressers is really busy as I work on pensioners’ day. I can also attend the doctors and dentist independently.

I have one very special friend that I see now and then for dinner too. I’ve known her from school and I love meeting up with her.

I’ve come a long way since I was that small girl starting school with my brown leather schoolbag with a Bay City Rollers sticker on it. I remember being terrified that day. I now live independently as much as is possible and have a very fulfilling life.

I’m still looking to the future though for new opportunities that may come my way. I have found I love to go to the theatre and am making enquiries at present to see if once a month I can be supported to do this too.

with YOU, Hays Business Centre, Unit 3/2, 4 Hay Avenue, Edinburgh, EH16 4AQ. | 0131 201 2931 | contact@withyou.support