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Preparing for independence

Former student Frazer and artist's impression of new development

National Star’s residential learning plays a key role in preparing young people for adulthood and independence.

Yet one of our greatest, ongoing challenges is being able to provide the right specialist environments needed for young people with complex disabilities to progress, grow and flourish. We desperately need more specialist residential accommodation to replace older facilities that no longer meet all the needs of the young people who depend on us.

It is vital that our new student accommodation is at Ullenwood, so that those who need very high levels of support due to their complex disabilities can easily access all our specialist support teams and facilities.

For many, like Frazer, moving to college was the first opportunity to live away from home and develop skills for independent living.

‘The first morning I woke up at Elizabeth House I thought “oh, where’s mum?” and then I realised I wasn’t at home, and I had to learn to be independent,’ said Frazer.

Since leaving National Star, Frazer, who is epileptic and has complex medical needs following brain surgery to remove a rare tumour, has moved into supported living. He loves it.

‘I wanted to live away from home so that I can make my own choices,’ said Frazer. ‘I never thought I would be able to do it.’

While he did do some chores at home, Frazer said life skills at college helped him develop his independence. He learned to plan healthy meals, shop and cook.

Now he is the proud owner of several cookbooks and enjoys cooking.

‘Living at college helped me to learn to live with others besides my mum and brother,’ said Frazer. ‘I made friends I still keep up with.’

Frazer is now busy looking for a job. ‘Now that I have moved into my own home, a whole new chapter in my life has just begun.’

For Max, who has profound and multiple learning disabilities, residential learning was critical for him and his parents in his transition to independent living.

‘Residential learning enabled Max to find his own independence and his own sense of self, and to establish his own space,’ said Max’s mother, Harriet.

‘When we started looking at the next stage for Max after college, we knew he was happy and could function without us there. This gave us the confidence to look at transition into long-term supported living.’

Max, who uses a wheelchair, has limited communication and complex behavioural issues. He has settled so well into his supported long-term living that even a short stay at home, due to the pandemic, proved a challenge.

‘Without his experience at National Star, he could never have been so successful in making this transition,’ said Harriet.

Discover more about our Building a Brighter Future Appeal and how you can help us build new specialist residential accommodation at Ullenwood.

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