Kyle is supported by New Directions at a supported living complex and has been helped to access the community in his own wheelchair friendly mobility vehicle for over a year now. His days out have included a trip to the zoo, visits to nearby towns and cities, an outing to the cinema, health appointments, meals out, day activities and many shopping trips for essentials although he would like to venture further afield and go on a short holiday to Blackpool for a few days.
Kyle said, “I feel safe in the car, I wouldn’t have as much choice about where I go without it. The more staff that use it the easier it is to get in and out and it’s comfortable. I have more choice and freedom with the car. I would not be able to visit family without the car as my dad is a named driver and I can go to my family home for a lot of hours. It’s great in the car because I can listen to my music when I go out and about.”
Rob who lives at one of New Directions’ supported living flats has been working at a brand new local discount store for sixteen hours a week since April 2017. He previously worked at a large supermarket, where he was trained to work on the checkout. He likes to get out of the flat, walks 20 minutes to get to work and looks forward to chatting to customers.
Rob said “I work four days a week and that includes five hours on a Saturday when it’s busy. I know how to take card payments, but have now learned how to do contactless ones, which is a good skill to have. Before the shop opened in May I was stocking shelves, but now I am enjoying making new friends and meeting people on the checkout because they remember me. It’s also nice to earn a few pennies because it pays the bills and I can take my girlfriend out for a special meal. I have had a four-week review and I got six and a half out of seven. I look forward to going to work and it has made me more confident in myself.”
Innovative technology that supports independent living for people with disabilities was the focus of a vital Assistive Technology Event hosted by New Directions and presented by Warwickshire County Council Assistive Technology expert Julia Murphy. People supported by New Directions, their families, carers and employees were invited to attend workshops on the day to learn more about assistive technology, what is available and how it can be accessed. New Directions worked in partnership with the Warwickshire County Council to facilitate this highly informative and pioneering event.
Assistive technology is any equipment or service that can support a person to complete a task independently or improve the safety and ease with which this task is carried out. This Assistive Technology Event provided 2 workshops with detailed discussions, instructive slideshow and close up view of numerous examples of life changing technologies. The equipment can supports everyday tasks, assist people to maintain their independence and bring them, their families and carers the peace of mind that someone will still respond when required.
Senior Manager Laura Nisbet said, “It is important that people have an awareness of the benefits of assistive technology and how it can enhance their lives with the reassurance that it is available to compliment the staff support they require. New Directions incorporates assistive technologies into its existing services and will continue to work with new technology as it becomes available. We were keen to host the event to reassure people that assistive technology is not a replacement for staff but a system that can work alongside our support workers to enable the people we support to develop their independence safely.”