Starts at Home Day, led by the National Housing Federation, is an annual celebration of the value that supported housing brings to the lives of millions of people around the country. There’s no place like home.

The aim of Starts at Home Day is to showcase the breadth of support offered to residents, who all have individual needs, wishes and goals related to their housing choices.

Just as important is the concept of a person being able to socialise where, and with whom, they please. Unfortunately, when it comes to those with disabilities, this isn’t always the case. There’s no place like home

Research from Scope shows that a startling 85% of people with disabilities from the 18 to 34 year old age group feel lonely. A  report by Sense, for the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, stated that 79% of people with autism feel socially isolated.

The sad fact is, although friendships are just as crucial to those with disabilities, if not more so, that need is often far from being met. There’s no place like home

That’s why building, encouraging and maintaining friendships, and being a part of the community, is a key aim across all of Sanctuary Supported Living’s services.

The ethos in nearly 100 services around the country, supporting more than 500 people with disabilities, is ‘Pathways to independence’ – a commitment to recognising that every person’s journey is different.

Residents are supported to interact with their neighbours, and the wider community, in the way they choose.

At Hilltop House, a Sanctuary Supported Living service in Bury St Edmunds, which supports people with physical disabilities, a wheelchair dance class sees residents have a fantastic opportunity to engage with each other.

Gear up for Starts at Home Day

Tilmore Gardens pub launch. Resident Phyllis Daniels, former staff member Lucy Scott

In Petersfield, Hampshire, those living at Tilmore Gardens Care Home have an extra special place to interact with each other – an on-site pub. The residents, who live with learning disabilities and in many cases, dementia, chose the conversion of the unused shed into a pub after deciding they’d like an informal venue in which to socialise.

 

Residents are always keen to showcase their talents and successes – at Nickleby Road, a Chelmsford-based supported housing service offering assured shorthold tenancies, everyone came together last summer to hold a 50s themed party.

Residents from across the service talked about their recent achievements to family, friends and local community members, and demonstrated their skills on musical instruments.

And it’s not just within the service; becoming a part of local communities is just as vital. Residents with learning disabilities from Corner House Care Home in Mansfield, for example, have been trained in fire safety and personal safety, with further training days hosted for community groups.

At The Shore, in Middlesbrough, staff support residents with learning disabilities to attend a community gym, working out alongside them. The team also go along to a local youth club with residents and have now secured a DJ slot at the disco.

Sanctuary Supported Living’s Operations Director, Sara Keetley, encourages all her staff to support residents to socialise in the way they choose. She said: “It’s crucial that, as a society, we recognise that people with disabilities have their own voices and personalities.

“The research shows how much of an impact loneliness can have, and it’s my personal aim for Sanctuary Supported Living to play a major part in making sure that people with disabilities have the same access to life’s opportunities as everyone else.”

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