Tony was a man that was very often misunderstood. He wasn’t born with a learning disability or any learning needs, these were caused from an accident that happened when he was a baby. For much of his life Tony was deemed “challenging” and even “uncontrollable”.
Institutionalised from a very early age, he spent many years living in an institutionalised environment. However, today, Tony leads a very different life. C-Change gave Tony the opportunity to experience life outside an institution (around 14 Years ago). Tony was empowered to select his own team and become involved in the employment process. He helped to choose his team members; Myself (Steph), Kevin and John, all of whom have been with Tony for quite some years now. I have worked with Tony for 8 years, he’s been a big part of my life and I would consider him part of my family. He’s been to every family celebration that he’s able to take part in: including Christmas, New Year and even my son’s Christenings, Confirmations, and Communions. He really is like an extended part of the family.
While Tony was institutionalised, he had very little possessions. He had a bed, a cabinet and two plastic bags containing all his personal belongings. Though everything changed when Tony was given a home to call his own, where he now has his own TV, furniture, personal belongings and all his favourite photos and paintings out on display. We are now seeing more and more sides to Tony and his personality due to the positive changes in his circumstances and because he is supported to live the life he chooses. Tony is now a very sociable man. He attends many events, is a member of a number of different groups including dates-n-mates and feels connected to his local community and to the people around him.
We (Tony’s team) encourage Tony to make decisions for himself and we support him to do the things that he enjoys, such as attending the inclusive arts organisation Project Ability in Glasgow. At Project Ability he likes to express himself through his artwork and paint for hours without anyone interrupting him. Recently Tony allowed C-Change to use a wonderful piece of his artwork for their 15 Year Celebration – this was used for ‘Thank You’ cards, which everyone in the organisation will receive.
Tony was never given a chance and C-Change gave him the chance to be involved and be part of the community. He was deemed that he would not fit in – but he does! He fits in very well.
By Steph Murphy (Personal Development Worker)