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Celebrating 25 years with #25stories

Twenty five years ago, Brandon Trust started with 25 people. Our aim then was the same as it is now – to enable the people we support to live their lives in the way they choose; to reach for their dreams; to live free.

In celebration of our 25th year, we've collected 25 stories from people across Brandon to show how support has changed. We hear from families, staff and, of course, the people we support, as they tell us their stories.

In our first story, Julian's sister Anthea, tells us about his journey from institutions to living independently in his own flat.

 

Julian in his own flat with his family photos on the wall

From institution to independence

Anthea's brother Julian, is supported by Brandon. Having been in various forms of care since his teenage years, Julian has experienced most settings. Now he lives in his own flat.

What was it like when Julian first moved out of the family home?

It was such a long time ago, it's hard to remember. He was in institutions at first; mental health hospitals. The doctors were giving him lots of medicine and his condition was difficult to get under control. He liked the hospital but when he returned recently for a project, he seemed to have bad memories and didn't want to be back there.

How did you feel when he moved into his own flat?

I had a lot of doubts in the beginning, but I have to admit, I was wrong. He's really enjoying his flat and the staff are really good. He doesn't roam anymore, perhaps because he has his own space so he doesn't feel the need to take himself away.

What's changed since he had his own flat?

He's a lot more optimistic; on the right day he's very communicative. He gets out quite a bit. At a pub quiz recently, he remembered some of the answers about Thunderbirds, which he used to love!

What's great about his support now?

Staff know him so well. My son lives nearby and noticed that his moods came in cycles. Staff noticed the same and can anticipate his moods and read the signs. Recently, staff took him ten-pin bowling and Julian told me he got three strikes! A while ago he wouldn't have contemplated doing that. He's encouraged to do as much as he can and then a bit more when he's in the right frame of mind.

Julian attends a Brandon enterprise. What does he think of it?

He loves chopping the wood – he finds it quite therapeutic, I think. It gives him a focus – he feels confident it's something he can do well. I'm sure he likes it because he walks up there voluntarily but if we ask him to go for a walk, he tells us it's too cold, even when it's boiling outside!

How do you feel about Julian's support team?

They put my mind at rest no end. The staff help him, he talks more positively now, so it's very reassuring. Staff there are very supportive, and I totally trust them.

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