Support scheme for disabled people launches

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Support scheme for disabled people launches

Friday February 10, 2012


H&F Council's cabinet member for community care, Cllr Joe Carlebach (left), meets resident Chris Briggs

A new council scheme is helping people with physical disabilities become more independent and involved in their community.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s community access team (CAT) officially launched today (Friday, February 10) at the Irish Centre in Blacks Road, Hammersmith, with 38-year-old Fulham resident Chris Briggs taking centre stage.

Chris is the first person to have received support from CAT, which was formed in October, and with the help of his key worker, has learned skills that have increased his independence and enhanced his life.

Chris used to be a street drinker in Hammersmith, drinking 20 cans of beer a day, until he suffered a serious head injury that led to stroke and subsequently difficulties with his speech and mobility.

Chris says: “The doctors in Charing Cross said I had a brain injury and that gave me a mild stroke, so now it takes me twice or three times as long for me to do things, than before.”

After a spell recuperating in a nursing home, Chris moved into accommodation in Shepherds Bush and then found a flat with the council in Fulham. He attended Sunberry Day Centre in Stevenage Road and in October last year took up the option of getting support from the CAT team.

Chris was visited by council workers at his home, and then a tailor-made 12 to 16-week programme was drawn up, outlining goals that Chris wanted to achieve by the end of the support scheme. They included getting support to get into further education by doing an information technology (IT) course, to get travel training and to carry out some voluntary work.

Chris now volunteers with a lunch club for homeless people in St Andrew’s Church every Saturday, and is an advocate for Hammersmith & Fulham Action for Disability (HAFAD), where he is volunteering as a support assistant for people doing IT classes. He is also studying for his Level 1 NVQ in information and communications technology (ICT) in Ealing, and travels there on his own, having had help to navigate London’s transport network.

“This was a way for me to be more independent and to get out into the community and not sit on my backside in the centre,” says Chris. “I don’t drink anywhere near as much as I used to – I’m not bored now. I learnt how to drink sensibly and it’s partly because of the support and that I’m so busy doing something all the time. 

“The programme has opened up new avenues for me to go down and this let me allow other people to help me. If there are people helping me, then I, in turn, can help other people. It is pretty hectic so I have to be organised – I’ve got a lot on my plate, you know!”

Cabinet member for community care, Cllr Joe Carlebach, says: “It is wonderful to see how Chris has really turned his life around with the support of the council and can be truly proud of his achievements. We are helping people through what can be challenging circumstances to regain a real sense of independence, confidence and security, by offering them support to do the things they want to do. We are working with 16 other residents at the moment and we know that they, and many more people, will become fully involved in their community and get the support they need to do that using this support programme.”

For more information contact the community access team at Imperial Wharf Resource Centre, 185 Townmead Road, Fulham, by calling 020 7384 6950 or emailing: jon.cooke@lbhf.gov.uk.

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