Making friends at Mandalay

Meet Charlotte

Charlotte is an autistic person we support who also has learning disabilities. As a young woman in her twenties, Charlotte’s family wanted her to have more independence and felt that it was time for her to live with people her own age.  Charlotte had previously tried both supported living and respite services with other providers, which unfortunately didn’t work out, but then she found Voyage Care.

After experiencing numerous services that weren’t suitable, Charlotte and her family were nervous when it came to finding a new home. This was until they discovered Mandalay, an all-female residential care home in Essex. We worked with Charlotte and her family to ensure the service was right, which included visits to see the home and meet the other residents. The service also arranged overnight stays so that Charlotte could get used to her new home and house mates before she moved in.

A new start

Charlotte joined Mandalay in August 2020. When she first moved in, Charlotte was a reserved character and could find it hard to make her own choices sometimes. Settling into a new home with new house mates can be nerve-wracking, and it did take some time for the other residents at Mandalay too, as they weren’t used to having an extra person around the house. The Mandalay team worked with all of the people we support, helping them to get to know and understand each other.

Less than 12 months on and there’s already such a difference in Charlottes confidence. She finds it much easier to communicate and to express exactly what she wants or the things she does and doesn’t like. She loves her new-found independence and really enjoys doing things for herself!

Keeping up routines

Charlotte benefits from having a routine and activity schedule. Her support is tailored to her specific needs and the service worked with Charlotte to find out what activities she enjoys most and to ensure these fit around her preferred routines. 

Charlotte and the team created a detailed activity schedule, which includes activities Charlotte can carry out independently, or where she can engage with the other residents at Mandalay.  Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Charlotte regularly visited local day centres. Restrictions and lockdowns meant that day centres were closed, but that didn’t mean the activities had to stop!

The service worked with the day centres to find ways that Charlotte could still get involved at home. Charlotte enjoys gardening and this is something she would often get involved in at the day centre. So, when the centres closed, Mandalay made their own vegetable patch so that Charlotte could still get stuck in.

The activity schedule at Mandalay often includes a themed day or party and Charlotte loves to take part in these, as well as spending her time getting creative. Last year Charlotte designed a card that was shortlisted for the Voyage Care 2020 Christmas card competition, and she also won a baking competition!

What’s next for Charlotte?

It’s eight months on since Charlotte joined Mandalay and her new home has already had such an impact. Charlotte’s new confidence and positivity has prompted her to set some goals for this year, including completing a walk to raise awareness and funds for her chosen charity. She also hopes to plant a spring garden at Mandalay.

We spoke to Service Manager Magda who shared that, “Charlotte is very positive and she is now settled at Mandalay. She is used to her routines, enjoys getting involved in activities at Mandalay and out in the community. When her parents visit, she loves to tell them just how happy she is.”

Mandalay are currently looking for a new housemate to join their home. If you are looking to develop your independence living skills in a positive, supportive environment then Mandalay may be the perfect place for you! Visit the Mandalay service page to learn more and watch our virtual tour of the home.

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