Achieve together is a leader in social care in the UK and supports people with its residential, supported living, domiciliary outreach at home and day services. Thousands of autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities and associated conditions receive specialist support from the organisation.
There are more than 420 Achieve together care homes around England and Wales. The organisation’s residential services provide 24/7 support and facilities. Meanwhile, some people Achieve together support reside in supported living accommodation, which provide as little or as much support as determined in their comprehensive support plans.
Achieve together’s supported living homes support people like Michael so they can enjoy an independent lifestyle in the community. Michael has lived in one of the organisation’s supported living homes for a few years. He is now transitioning to live independently thanks to support from Achieve together.
Achieve together Success Stories: Michael’s Journey
Michael faced significant challenges during his adolescence. The difficulties he encountered led to extended stays in psychiatric hospitals or young offender centres. He relocated to one of Achieve together’s supported living homes four years ago, determined to start life afresh.
During his adolescence, Michael received diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia. Reflecting on this time, he recalls feeling angry and frustrated as he found himself “bouncing around the system.”
In 2012, Michael’s transfer to a maximum-security prison changed everything. It was there that he had a crucial realisation. Engaging with long-term prisoners and hearing their stories became a turning point for Michael. He couldn’t help but question his own path, thinking, “What am I doing? I can’t do this all my life.”
Turning His Life Around
Michael spoke to his psychiatric team, who worked to modify his support and treatment. This marked the beginning of a transformative period in Michael’s life. Shortly afterwards, he relocated to a low-category hospital for the remainder of his sentence.
Kelly is the home manager of the Achieve together supported living home Michael moved into. She notes that, having spent significant time in prison, Michael had “few life skills and limited independence.”
The team at the home dedicated one-on-one time to support Michael as he developed his life skills and independence, supporting him in cooking and carrying out daily tasks. This support helped Michael cope successfully with reintegrating into community life.
Choosing A Supported Living Home
Michael visited several Achieve together supported living homes before choosing his current accommodation. When he found the home, he knew it was “perfect” for him.
For Michael, getting involved in the process of selecting his home held great significance. He believes the decision played a crucial role in helping him adapt to the change.
Michael has nothing but praise and gratitude for the team members who have been instrumental in supporting his journey.
“I don’t think I would have made this progress anywhere else than [at this home],” Michael says. “Everything I needed, they provided. The support system, the team and the structure of the house all suited me perfectly.”
Michael admits that he initially experienced anxiety about “most things.” These things included going out alone and dealing with crowded places and public transport.
Determined, Michael passed his driving test and got a car. Now, he can drive independently, no longer relying on buses or trains to get around.
He also obtained a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) allowance. PIP is a benefit from the UK government’s Department for Work and Pensions. The allowance can help with extra living costs for individuals who:
- Have a long-term disability or physical or mental health condition.
- Face challenges performing certain daily tasks or getting around as the result of a condition.
An individual can be eligible for PIP even if they are employed, have savings or receive other benefits.
Paid Work and Volunteering
For the last six months, Michael has dedicated his Fridays to volunteering at a hospital ward where he once received treatment. Now, he engages with the patients, offering valuable guidance and advice on how to make positive changes in their lives.
Michael feels passionate about this role: “I tell them what I’ve achieved and offer inspiration. I wish someone had done that for me when I was in prison. I had nothing going for me then — no goals, no hope.”
During his stay at the hospital as a patient, Michael volunteered as a car valet on the premises. Six months ago, he received an unexpected opportunity.
“I was expecting a call to tell me when I could bring in my car for valeting. Instead, I had a phone call asking whether I’d like a job and went for an interview.”
Michael secured the position. In his new role, he manages the car valet business for 15 hours a week. He takes on all the responsibilities of running the service and oversees two assistants during each session.
Michael considers himself fortunate to have the job, especially given the challenges of finding employment with a criminal record.
Michael’s Future Accommodation Plans
Michael continues to enjoy his work and volunteering roles. In his spare time, he likes spending time with his family, friends and support team. He also enjoys going shopping.
After spending four years in Achieve together supported living accommodation, Michael has gained the necessary life skills and self-assurance he needs to look for his next home. He will soon live independently, knowing that outreach assistance from his support workers will be available if needed.
Michael is hoping to find a new home that is closer to his workplace as this would shorten his daily commute.
Looking to the future, Michael plans to spend nights away from his home and even take a holiday once his probation period ends.
Kelly says: “It has been an absolute privilege to support Michael and work alongside him to gain skills and become the person he is today. He has put in lots of effort to achieve what he has, and I am very proud to have been a part of the journey.”
How Achieve together Supports the Transforming Care Programme
Published in 2015, “Building the Right Support” is a national plan in the UK that facilitates the Transforming Care programme.
Transforming Care focuses on enhancing health and care services to allow more people to live in their communities, rather than hospitals. This way, people can stay close to home while receiving the appropriate support.
Achieve together is one of the stakeholders supporting the Transforming Care programme’s goals. Achieve together’s care homes and services enable individuals to live independently near their family, friends and the things they cherish.
Achieve together Care Homes and Supported Living Accommodation
Achieve together’s care homes cater to the unique needs of autistic people and people with learning disabilities. The organisation provides purpose-built residential accommodation and supported living arrangements.
Achieve together’s supported living service empowers people to lead an independent lifestyle within the community.
At the same time, people in supported living accommodation receive assistance from the organisation’s support workers to manage tasks they may find challenging on their own. This support can range from help with daily activities like getting out of bed, going to the shops and handling housework to managing finances and personal care.
Achieve together has more than 180 supported living homes throughout England and Wales. In most of the organisation’s supported living homes, two or three adults share the living space. However, Achieve together always makes sure that people feel comfortable with their housemates.
With a less supervised form of support compared to residential care, supported living can give people a sense of having their own place.
Residential care presents a more supervised support option: The 24/7 support Achieve together care homes offer can provide peace of mind for people and their families.
Achieve together care homes tend to accommodate several people. Each individual has a private bedroom and access to shared communal areas such as a living room, lounge, dining space and kitchen facilities. Some homes have shared bathrooms, and some offer en-suite facilities.
Additionally, some Achieve together care homes have specialist facilities. These facilities might include on-site pools, sensory gardens and activity rooms.
Despite the 24/7 support in Achieve together care homes, people can enjoy as active and independent a lifestyle as they wish. And, as the residential homes tend to have more people living in them than supported living settings, individuals have increased opportunities for social interaction.
Achieve together care homes are available for people aged 18 and above (or soon to be) who are seeking a living arrangement with around-the-clock support.
Helping People Find Their Ideal Home
Achieve together works hard to support people as they find the most suitable home and level of support for them. This process may involve:
- Recommendations for the right models of support and care based on individual needs.
- Advice and guidance for families, friends and advocates who are uncertain about their options or where to seek funding.
- Transition planning for individuals aged 16-25 to provide preventative support. This planning enables people to find the right home at the start of their journey into adult health and social care.
- Homes and services for individuals to move out of the hospital, with specialised support based on a person-centred approach.
- Highly complex support for those ready to move on from a forensic setting into a more independent, community-based living situation.
- Support with complex care or a crisis from a team of experienced placement and assessment managers. Achieve together’s referrals hub is also available seven days a week to people, families and professionals seeking support.
Learn more about Achieve together’s care homes and adult support services.
About Achieve together
With a wealth of experience spanning 25 years, Achieve together is one of the UK’s foremost providers of specialised support for people with learning disabilities, autism and associated complex and/or mental health needs.
The organisation currently supports more than 2,300 young people and adults throughout England and Wales. Achieve together’s mission is to empower people to lead happy, healthy, and meaningful lives.