There's really no such thing as a typical day in the life of the people we support. It all depends on the individual. For some it's about variety and the chance to try new things, for others what matters most is the reassurance of a consistent routine.
These stories are written based on interviews with people currently in our residential and supported living services.
A day in a residential home
I wake up at about six o'clock every day because I like to be up early. I'm usually the first person to get up. I don't have to set any alarms, it's just when I wake up. I go downstairs to the lounge to say good morning to Irina and the staff and anyone else who is there. I have a cup of tea with milk and one sugar.
We all have our breakfast together. I like to help by stirring the pots or doing the chopping up. I get out the cutlery. After breakfast I have a shower and brush my teeth and staff give me my medication. Some days I need someone to help me with shaving. I can choose what I want to wear, and I like to pick different things every day from my wardrobe.
I normally start activities at ten o'clock. It can be lots of different things. Sometimes I do baking and make jam tarts or cupcakes for everyone in the house. Other days we go out and John or someone else from the staff team drives me to classes. I'm learning horse-riding. I've been going for two years and I'm able to help in the stable as well as riding without anyone holding on. Some days I go swimming or to the library with other people from the home. On Fridays we plan activity schedules for the next week so I know what I'm doing each day.
At about one o'clock we finish morning activities and have lunch. I like to help plan the food we're having and everyone in the house eats together like at home. After lunch I always help by putting things in the dishwasher. Then I have a rest unless it's the day we have to put the bins out.
In the afternoon we do more activities. On some days I do volunteering with Mind. Lots of my other housemates do different charity work. It can be quite hard but I like it because you get to meet new people and help people. Once a week I go to drama, and on Fridays we all go to the pub together. Sometimes we do big group trips like going to a museum.
I go home to visit my Mum and Dad and my brother quite a lot. Sometimes staff drop me off for the afternoon or my family come and pick me up and we go out for the whole day. I usually come back home at dinner time.
At six o'clock we have dinner and I help Richard and Jackie cook and clean up. My housemates think I'm the best cook. Once a month we go out for dinner as a group and sometimes three of us go to the football. Those are my favourite evenings. But normally after dinner we just relax and watch some TV or a film.
I have a shower about 8.30 and get myself changed for bed. If I need medication that day I go to staff to get it. I watch more TV in my room or I write in my diary what I did that day. I usually go to sleep about 9pm.
A day in supported living
I usually wake up when Neil arrives and open the blinds at around 7.15 in the morning. I'm not great at getting out of bed, so I get an extra ten minutes on the timer while they start making breakfast. I get help with my medication and by the time the alarm goes off again, I'm ready to start running my bath. I need assistance with that, but afterwards I can dress myself and go to the kitchen for breakfast. Then it's time to tidy my bedroom, which gets a bit messy, and after I've tidied my bedroom I'm normally in the mood so I tidy the rest of the flat.
If it's a weekday, about nine o'clock Ranj and Sam from educational support arrive. They help me with my maths, reading and writing, and living skills for organising things. They also give me help to express my needs better and tell people what I want.
I plan my lunch with the educational support. When we run out of what we need we go shopping to buy some more. They help me pick the food I like and let me choose from picture boards with different types of food. I usually help get lunch ready while the others supervise.
We do some more activities and living skills in the afternoon. Sometimes we use PECS books and choice boards because I find it hard to explain what I need when I get anxious. I like to take lots of videos of what I'm doing with my phone so I can look at them later. Sometimes I like to film Ranj and Sam or myself.
Ranj and Sam stay until about four. Then I get to go out. I like go to the cinema. Elena or Maya comes with me and then if we get hungry we go to Nando's.
When we're eating at home I use my living skills and help to cook dinner. I like cooking for myself and I've become much better at choosing the right food. After dinner I do the tidying up and wash up all the plates and pots and pans.
Then I get a choice of an outdoor or an indoor activity. If it's not raining or too cold I play basketball or go on the trampoline or for a walk with staff. My favourite is staying inside and playing Fifa on the Xbox. I'm good. I like that I get to choose what I do in the evenings and sometimes I just like to be by myself. Most days I talk to my Mum on Facetime as well.
About 8.30 or nine o'clock I'm ready to go to bed. I have a shower, not a bath, with some help from staff and take my night time medication. I get changed into my pyjamas by myself and brush my teeth. The staff set the ten minute timer as it helps me to keep track of getting ready and what to do. I can choose when I go to bed and before I turn the lights off I like to look at all the videos that I've filmed on my iPad before I go to sleep.