“Finding my voice in a supported housing scheme” by Simon, Peabody customer
“My name is Simon*. I live in one of Peabody’s supported housing schemes in Essex."
“When I moved here in March 2021, I had an anxiety disorder known as Selective Mutism. It meant I could not speak to anyone outside of my family, even though I wanted to, due to my fear of speaking. I had this for my entire life leading up to my move here.
“My Care Support Worker, Megan, was the first person I met when I moved in. And over the following year as I settled in, I had lots of support with her. While it took me some time to settle into my new home and adjust to the new people, I very quickly started to enjoy and look forward to my support with Megan.
“I always felt noticed by Megan and that she gave me her attention, even though I didn't speak or respond verbally to her. When I wrote things down in response to her friendly chatting, she would always read my notes with interest, and in future support sessions she would remember what I had written.
“Megan organises most of the group activities here, such as BBQs in the garden, takeaway nights, bingo and other community games.
“At first, I struggled with these group events greatly and would avoid joining in and struggle to feel involved. But with her support and encouragement I managed to get more involved with group activities. Now I have the confidence to get involved on my own, something I've never been able to do before.
“Even as I write this, I have new experiences coming up that Megan has organised: a Christmas rock and roll lunch, as well as a Jack and the Beanstalk play - which I would never have otherwise tried without her.
“But the most significant thing Megan has done for me is this: she has been there every step of the way for me when I made the big decision to finally talk instead of writing notes. It was incredibly difficult for me, and I had a few meltdowns on the way due to the anxiety of it all. But every time I did talk, Megan was there to help and stop me from giving up on it.
“It all started with me stammering out a single word to her with great difficulty when she took me to an animal park for the day. That was in the early summer 2022. And it has ended with me not only talking fluently and joining in with the lovely discussions I have with Megan, but talking with pretty much anyone.
“This is something I never thought I would ever be able to accomplish, let alone in such a short time span. And it’s absolutely life changing for me.
“Now that I can talk and have gotten over my life's biggest fear, pretty much anything seems possible in comparison. I am feeling more confident and happier than I ever have before. I am doing so many new things now with this confidence, like going back to college and learning to drive. And I don't think I could have done any of it if I had never met Megan.”
Megan, Care Support Worker, added:
“When I first met Simon, he was very shy and hid himself away. Now, he’s so independent and has overcome his greatest fear. He is amazing, and he’s one of the reasons why I love my job.
"Every person I support is unique, and I love finding individual and inventive ways to support and include them. We actively find ways to listen to them, whether or not they speak aloud.
"I’m extremely proud of how far Simon has come and I’m excited to help him reach more of his personal goals.”
About our services
We provide specialist homes, care and support for around 300 people in Essex and London who have a disability. Read more about our services.
We're hiring more Care Support Workers like Megan to help people improve their lives. Join our team.
*name changed for anonymity purposes.