Sandy is a man with a plan who knows exactly what he wants from life. However prior to receiving support from C-Change in 2013, Sandy was very restricted in the life he could lead.
Sectioned at the age of eight, he spent more than thirty years in institutions. His treatment and care was mixed, as he describes some of that time as “a total nightmare” and often felt very depressed.
In 2009, he was given his own flat in supported accommodation but he felt like a prisoner in his own home. The restrictions placed on him and others living there were severe.
Sandy explains: “I couldn’t have a pet, we couldn’t visit each other, I wasn’t even allowed to clean my own flat or play a game of darts without supervision.” He also had a 10pm curfew that wasn’t part of his Community Treatment Order. Sandy admits to feeling very down during this time, often spending long periods of time alone staring at the wall, feeling despair with no hope of anything changing.
It was 2013 when Sandy says his life began.
C-Change had taken on the contract to support those living in the flats (in partnership with the local authority) and quickly set about making changes to help everyone live the life they wanted.
C-Change Aberdeen Practice & Development Lead Amanda Tough says: “We made a point of setting aside time for each person to talk about their future and their goals. It was important that every individual took control right from the start, deciding when, where and how the meetings would take place.” Sandy was reluctant at first because of the way he’d been treated in the past, but over a number of weeks, Amanda eventually managed to help him identify his goals. “Sandy wanted to move out of supported housing, go on holiday abroad, get a pet, find a job and have a relationship. He just wanted an ordinary, happy life.”
Working closely together, Amanda and Sandy developed a plan to make it happen. Sometimes it was tough and involved lots of risk assessments as well as convincing a lot of people that Sandy not only wanted but deserved the freedom he craved.
“We kept going,” says Amanda, “and we got a little more done each time.
“We listened to Sandy, we had clear goals, we were honest and took a flexible approach to his support.”
As a result, less than three years on, Sandy is planning his third holiday abroad and living in his own flat with his wife Rosie and their two cats.
He’s dramatically reduced the amount of support he needs and uses his individual service fund for activities including computer and photography classes. Sandy is now looking to set up a walking group for disabled people in Aberdeen.
For Sandy this is another beginning, “a fresh start” as he puts it. He now looks forward to the future and all it’s possibilities.
Sandy now tells the story of his journey to professionals working in the care sector at events across Scotland.