Deborah's Story

Mother with her disabled daughter

Deborah’s 30-year-old daughter Elizabeth has cerebral palsy and lived at Jack Howarth House, which closed in July 2014.

Elizabeth has very complex physical needs and learning difficulties – she does not communicate verbally, and uses a wheelchair with a moulded seat.

Elizabeth requires care 24 hours a day. She moved into Jack Howarth House just before her 18th birthday. It was a great place – the people were really good – but the building was dated

When I first got the letter about the plans, I just thought, ‘Oh, no’. It was difficult to find Jack Howarth House, and it’s not easy finding suitable residential care for somebody who has complex needs. But I hoped that we’d be helped along the way, and that’s been the case.

Finding a new home for Elizabeth

We thought it would be nice if Elizabeth could be a bit nearer to us – Jack Howarth House was quite a long way away – and our social worker came up with a list of places.

When we found a suitable home, I arranged to have a look with Lisa, Elizabeth’s team coordinator at Jack Howarth House. We both liked it so we took Elizabeth to visit, and then organised for her to stay overnight with a keyworker. She had a really good visit, and that was that.

It’s such a lovely place, and even though it’s quite hard to move when you’ve been settled somewhere for a long time, I am really, really pleased.

Settling in

It was a big change for Elizabeth. At the beginning she lost quite a lot of weight, but she’s more settled now, and she seems happy. It’s only been a short time, but she has done really well.

Beth lives in a unit especially for people with learning disabilities. She has a nice big room with her own bathroom, and there are lots of activities. They’ve got a sensory room, which she really does enjoy. She likes listening to classical music, and has continued with her music therapy which she really enjoyed at Jack Howarth House.

In some ways Elizabeth’s new home is perhaps more suited to the way she needs to be looked after. There’s a lot of space there. The residents are all quite young, which is nice for her – it makes me feel better that she’s with people her own age. I think it all went as well as it could have done, really.

It’s quite hard to move when you’ve been settled somewhere for a long time, but I am really, really pleased.
Deborah Elizabeth's mum