Last summer, during that memorable July heatwave, we began moving a number of our longer-term tenants from our houses in the community, into Wilberforce House. For some the move was hugely exciting, the chance to have a state-of-the-art apartment and their own front door. For others it was stepping into the unknown, some had only ever lived within our houses for their whole adult lives.
In their previous homes they would have been used to sharing communal areas, such as a lounge and the kitchen and there were Support Workers with them 24/7. Here there is more independence, but with care and support just minutes away if needed, as well as dedicated support hours each day. In the weeks and months that followed, almost 30 long term tenants moved to Wilberforce House.
During one of our Coffee & Catch up sessions, in Weston’s Café, we chatted to a few of the residents about the last year, the changes it brought and what they have most enjoyed about moving here.
Caz moved to Wilberforce House from a previous trust property and has loved the change. She has enjoyed the new experiences she has had and has found the greatest positive is that she feels she does a lot more, independently, now than before.
We spoke to Lee, who was new to the Trust when he moved to Wilberforce House last summer, and how he’s found settling into not just a new home but a new city as well. Lee said he’s enjoyed meeting new people but is especially happy with joining new groups and exploring his local area. He’s joined a walking group, goes tandem cycling and also regularly enjoys visiting the local pub. But the best thing Lee has started to do since moving in, is DJing for fellow tenant’s parties in the Living and Learning Zone. With his own space in his apartment, he can listen to his music and plan his set lists.
Sue, another long term tenant of the trust, remembered keenly the hot weather of the days she moved in and said that once she settled in, she really looks forward to meeting together for coffee in the café.
All of the tenants we spoke to have loved the communal space of the Living & Learning Zone (LLZ) and meeting together for weekly Coffee & Catch up, or for celebratory events such as Christmas and the King’s Coronation. Last Christmas, those that didn’t visit family joined together with dinners cooked in their apartments to eat together, and they’re looking forward to repeating this again this year.