Annie came to a Voyage Care service in West London after a difficult start to her life. Emotionally and sexually abused at her family home, Annie was placed in foster care. All went well until her foster mother was taken ill. Annie was moved to a Voyage Care residential home, she picks up the story for us:
"Initially, this was extremely difficult for me, as I missed my family. Sometimes when I met them on the street, they would blame me for reporting the abuse, and said, that is why I am in care now, and I should have kept quiet.
I had a lot of counselling as I became very depressed, and lashed out at everyone around me including my carers. I was a very nervous person, unable to travel independently etc.
With patience and empathy, respect and being given the opportunity to make choices and take control of my life from my carers and the manager, I regained my confidence. I received travel training and can now go out independently on the bus to specific destinations, and also go to the local pub, church and walks independently. The plan is to expand my areas of travel training in future.
I am now a very valuable person in the home and also active in my local community, and well known at my local church where I help every Sunday after service serving tea and biscuits to the elderly that come to the church.
I am now the spokesperson in the home I live for the other residents, and have a meeting fortnightly with the manager to discuss anything that concerns us. I am also the recycling champion in the home and ensure staff and residents are taking their environmental responsibility seriously.
I am involved in staff recruitment, and can speak up for the home and everything that we need to make our life better. I work as a Volunteer at a special school, helping out as a dinner lady. I am also a panel member of Mencap Power Group, and go to various forums to raise awareness of disability issues, and have had the opportunity to meet MPs, and the Mayor of London.
I am also part of the Working Together National Forum facilitated by Voyage Care, and meet up quarterly to discuss with other residents and quality managers/Directors on how best to support and improve our lives. Recently, I applied for a voluntary job as a quality checker with Voyage, and I now go to other services and help with the inspection process.
My social life is also full of activities and I go to the pub, cinema, day trips, bowling, and musical concerts/theatres. In house, we have barbecues, parties and residents meetings. I have a wonderful key worker and staff team who can help me calm down when I am upset about something.
This is just a summary of my wonderful progress so far, but I must say, the story continues and can only get better."
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This person chose to remain anonymous, therefore, we have changed some information to protect their confidentiality.