Linden House: supporting independence, growth and happiness - Avenues Group

Linden House: supporting independence, growth and happiness

Tuesday 18th of May 2021

Avenues’ new service in London is proving its worth, as the people living there thrive in an environment which supports their freedom and wellbeing.

Charley relaxes on a trampoline
Charley relaxes on the trampoline

The redevelopment of the former eight-bedded residential home was tailored specifically to the needs of people previously identified by the government’s Transforming Care programme, which sought to reduce the number of people with autism detained in secure hospitals and find them community-based support.

Set in landscaped gardens and designed around the needs of individuals, Linden House’s apartments offer individual living areas with separate bedrooms and living rooms, fully adapted kitchens and ensuite bathrooms.

The £1.3m development created four self-contained, fully-adapted Supported Living flats and was funded by NHS England and the Big Lottery Fund. Avenues was awarded the support contract through Haringey Council’s Positive Behavioural Support Framework.

Service Manager Sarah Symes, explained the significance of the environment to Charley and Violet, the two young women who have moved in since the opening of the service in summer 2020.

“These ladies are very able, and smart, but they have specific sensitivities and support needs that have to be met if they are going to be happy and healthy.

When Avenues supported Charley’s move out of hospital after 10 years, it was a huge step and a real personal triumph for her. But as she settled into her first flat it became clear that the layout was restricting her independence. It may have been right for many people, but not for her.  Small rooms and the inflexibility of the space meant that she had to be supported more than she wanted, which was frustrating for her, and that was reflected in her behaviour – which consequently meant that her opportunities to connect with her community, and have the independence she craves, diminished.

“We all need to live in a place that suits us. When we recognised that Charley needed something different, we were determined to find it. Violet moved into Linden after spending time in a number of children’s psychiatric units, so the move into her own home was a really big and exciting step. She’s full of life, energy and ideas – she really needs the space. If she was in a less open and varied environment she would become very anxious and her support needs would increase, which isn’t any good for anyone.

“To really make this work for them the team here worked closely with the Avenues Positive Behaviour Support specialists, and the impact of having the right group of people supporting Charley and Violet, in the right place and in the right way has been a joy to see.”

Assistant Service Manager Mikila Lake described the positivity flowing through the service: “Violet is really enjoying life; in her own flat with all her new found independence as she’s just turned 18, combined with the fact she has support available whenever she needs it. It’s great that she’s so close to her family home and she loves the fact that she’s familiar with the local area and can take some control on days out.

“She has been developing her ambition to open her own café or bakery in the future, and is now looking into work experience roles in a café or coffee shop, and keen to pursue A-level qualifications.

“Violet also wants to explore more of London, particularly the South Bank and travel abroad – but her immediate goal is to try running the Race for Life in the autumn. She has been jogging with her support workers and is being encouraged to keep this up!

“Charley’s been on a different journey but after just a couple of nights she began to settle and build rapport with staff members, and then step outside her comfort zone and try new activities. She is loving the space and freedom she gets at Linden House, where she can do more with less support, and have that independence she wants as an adult.

“She now enjoys going on walks up and down Linden Road. We’re taking this step by step, with the aim of fully integrating her into the community by taking her to buy food for her meals such as fish and chips on a Friday for example.

“Charley loves being creative every day; she’s a talented baker and enjoys making and decorating cupcakes. She paints and takes pride in sticking these masterpieces on her wall.

“And she’s been planting seeds in the garden that will eventually blossom into flowers, with her own care.”

If you’re looking for support, take a look at the latest updates on our vacancies pages.

Back