“For me, the right support means that I’m supported, but I’m still independent"
“It wasn’t always like this. When I was first supported I lived in Wighton House, a residential home close to where I’d previously lived in Craigmillar. When it closed, I moved into a home of my own and I remember being terrified of moving into my own place! I definitely didn’t miss the regime of living in a group home – or having to wait for a member of staff to take me outside when I wanted a cigarette! But still, it took me six months to adapt to being in my new place and it feeling like home.
“It’s been almost 20 years now and I still live in the same home, supported by Thistle. My team supports me with getting out and about. Throughout the pandemic I’ve been building up my walking, relying on my wheelchair less. We go to local parks and I catch up with a friend there when she’s walking her dog. It’s amazing the difference walking has made to me, especially throughout the pandemic restrictions, it’s been something to focus on and I feel the benefits. I also do Reiki exercises every morning before breakfast, it’s really important to me to be disciplined with these and I’ve noticed the difference staying consistent makes to my mobility.
“Before the pandemic, I was volunteering as a member of Thistle’s reception team. I liked being able to use my skills from my earlier career, use the computer, chat to people – I’m a people person. It’s nice to get dressed up for work each day and make people feel welcome. I’m really looking forward to when things are back to normal and I’m volunteering again.
“I’ve really been enjoying cooking recently and the team and I have been experimenting in the kitchen. We’ll put on the Beatles’ White Album and make a meal together – a pasta dish or a Sunday roast – or I’ll cook dinner for me and my boyfriend, he likes a good steak. He and I have been going to karaoke nights in Craigmillar together since restrictions have lifted and it’s been good to catch up with friends I knew from when I lived there. Music is a big part of my life, I’ve always got something on in the background and it’s nice to share it with my team. My PA Eva has even got a ‘Dawn’ playlist of my songs on her phone!
Today, I’m in a really good place in my life. I get out and do the things I want to do. Yes I’m supported, but I’m independent.”