HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU FIRST!
You First officially turns 7 years old on the 18th February 2021. During this period of time, You First has proven itself to be one of the leading providers for people with significant and complex needs across the county of Somerset and the surrounding areas, delivering much of its support via Personal Budgets, meaning that people remain in control of their lives by retaining absolute control of their support.
Formed as a Social Enterprise and as a Community Interest Company, You First was established from scratch and from a dual desire to:
- See people with autism, learning disabilities and mental illness build and grow their lives in ways that made sense to them
- Establish a workforce that felt connected to and valued by the organisation they worked with
Over the past 7 years You First has grown to a position where we employ over 70 people and deliver over 1,700 hours of support each week to some of the most vulnerable people in the County - and outside the County of Somerset.
You First provides a very broad offer in terms of support. Many people supported require us to be with them 24 hours a day, others engage with us for just a few hours a week, but in all cases the ethos remains the same: we exist to enable people to live their best lives according to their own world view and according to their own values.
You First has enabled many people to enjoy a significant range of outcomes including, but not limited to:
- Enabling young mothers with learning disabilities and/or mental illness retain custody of their children and enjoy their basic human right to a family life
- Supporting an individual with agoraphobia, who had not been outside his home for many years, and who has an overwhelming and debilitating fear of hospitals, attend an appointment at Yeovil District Hospital and undergo an invasive and painful procedure under local anaesthetic
- Enabling a 50-year-old woman with significant autism, sensory processing disorder and bi-polar condition, who had experienced institutional abuse in another setting, rebuild her life, regain trust in people, reclaim old skills and learn new ones and become a respected member of her community
- Supporting an individual with autism who had been sectioned and staffed 3:1 to purchase her own home, enjoy 1:1 staffing, gain qualifications at a local college, establish the largest Avon round in her town, grow and sell organic produce and develop hope for her future
- Enable a gentleman with significant autism, for whom predictability is critical, successfully move home - a home he now owns, managing all the upheaval this brings, and to successfully settle into his new environment
- Building the confidence of a young man who had been told he would not succeed at life to a point where he took and passed his driving test and found employment and who now no longer requires support
- Facilitating the move from long stay mental health hospitals to real community settings and seeing people flourish and build lives of value, worth and meaning
- Building micro-teams around people who had been labelled as "challenging" or "difficult" and seeing people engage in college, voluntary activity, building relationships, grow as individuals and not only enjoy their community but make meaningful contributions toward it
- Being aspirational for people and seeing people gain awards linked to their hobbies and interests and become proficient in key areas, for example, exhibiting photographic art
- Supporting people through life threatening physical illness and through meaningful multi-disciplinary work as well as calling on well-established social care skills seeing people with significant intellectual and physical disability return to a quality of life
- Enabling an older lady with a learning disability and significant mental ill-health, who has many vulnerabilities, building trust in people and gradually engaging with support with the outcomes of improved physical and mental health
- Supporting a young man to have confidence in himself, start walking the path of seeing himself through a positive lens, engaging in sport and leisure, hold down a voluntary position and tentatively begin believing in himself.
- Helping people find themselves, become themselves, take pride in themselves, build relationships, grow in dignity, grow in self-respect and respect for others and believe in their ability and the many opportunities life offers them
- Supporting many people with significant autism cope with lockdown, where they have lost many anchors in terms of routine, structure and predictability with the end result of struggling to orient themselves to time and space
And I could go on!
There are many, many more positive stories, stories of real people, leading real lives. This is not about You First success, it's about people being given the space to become who they are and achieve success for themselves. As a CQC Inspector said to one of the people we support who had experienced a very troubled past and who had been given a very long list of inappropriate labels "you just needed someone to listen to you, didn't you?"
You First takes its first few steps into our eighth year with pride and confidence. Whilst we are living in a most unpredictable and difficult period in our national and indeed international history, we look forward to seeing more people build and grow their lives, show the world who they are and what they can do and, most importantly, lead happy, peaceful and meaningful lives.
You can find out more about You First by visiting our:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/youfirstsupportservices
Or call us on 0300 111 9999
Happy Birthday, You First
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