Matthew has recently moved out of Willow House, his home for the last 22 months and the location of our Mental Health Rehabilitation and Assessment Service.

We don’t half miss him! But his move is cause for real celebration…

Prior to Willow House becoming a home for him, Matthew lived with his parents upon whom he relied heavily in all aspects of his life. He required a lot of support from them in order to carry out everyday living tasks and had limited social contact with anyone else.

He’s now much older, but in his early 20s Matthew was diagnosed with ‘treatment resistive schizophrenia’ and was admitted on multiple occasions to a hospital psychiatric ward. He would sometimes end up being an in-patient for long periods of time – the longest stay being six months.

He says of that time:

“When I was diagnosed, I was scared and lonely. I felt pushed out of life and I stopped going out. I began to lose all confidence very quickly.

When my Care Coordinator discussed Willow House with me and told me about how the support provided there could make a difference, I was really happy and keen to give it a go. I realised that I needed to learn new skills and gain independence.”

Moving in during the spring of 2019, Matthew settled in extremely well and formed trusted relationships with fellow Willow House residents and the MioCare Group staff based there. Together with his support team, he identified some areas that needed focus in order to build up a greater skill set.

Matthew showed a keen interest in cooking and so began to experiment with new recipes – learning about different types of food, a healthy diet, as well as kitchen hygiene and safety:

“I’m so grateful for the time spent at Willow House. Staff understood me and helped me. I gained skills and my self-confidence came back. I now have more independence, pride and belief in myself.”

He started attending the MioCare Group’s Wellbeing Service at Chadderton Hall Park:

“I loved this. The staff team at the park showed me respect and gave me lots of encouragement!”

Given that his time spent at Chadderton Hall Park was so successful, Matthew was supported to gain voluntary employment at the Mind charity shop in Chadderton too:

“I do two days a week and have worked there for over 18 months now. I really enjoy it and feel like I’m part of the community.”

While his stay at Willow House was extended a little due to the effect Covid-19 pandemic had on housing availability, Matthew has now successfully secured a tenancy on a flat in Chadderton:

“I’m so pleased. I’m enjoying having my own place, it’s so relaxing and peaceful. I know the area after living at Willow and working at the shop. I have the confidence to look after myself and my flat. The outreach from Willow House has really helped me to settle in and the advice has been brill’!

It’s made my move a lot easier. I know I can contact Willow House if I need any guidance or reassurance and staff are always willing to listen, help and point me in the right direction.”

As Matthew mentions above, MioCare Group staff are still very much connected with him through the ‘outreach’ function of our Mental Health Rehabilitation and Assessment Service. It’s a key part of what we do, supporting people who’ve been under our care as they settle somewhere new, even if they’re no longer in a location we manage day-to-day. We’re delighted to see him doing so well and will be in touch regularly as his journey continues.

Here are the thoughts of Candice, Mathew’s long-time Care Coordinator and as such is someone we work closely with and who’s known him for many years through her varying health service support roles:

“There's always been the concern that there will likely be things Matthew is unable to do independently. But in reality, there's been nothing he's not been able to learn, develop and implement.

The credit for this goes entirely to the team at Willow House and of course Matthew himself, who’s now taking a degree of responsibility for his medication too and managing this really well. He's budgeting, shopping, preparing healthy meals for himself (and his parents!) and has established a social network through volunteering – presenting as brighter, more engaged and more confident. It's beyond his own expectations! It highlights the amazing, consistent work carried out by your team and highlights how valuable the service is.”

And finally, some words from Victoria who is a MioCare Group Senior Community Support Worker at Willow House…

“Matthew was extremely quiet when he moved in and was lacking in confidence and self-awareness.  He was reluctant to engage in conversation with both staff and his peers and required a lot of support. Though through his own determination and commitment, coupled with a consistent person-centred support from the Willow House staff team, Matthew’s developed the practical and emotional skills that have set him up for independent living.”

Everyone at the MioCare Group is incredibly proud of Matthew and those involved in his journey. As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, we will keep moving forward, keeping in mind this amazing example of progress. Here’s to a happy new home!

#MadeInOldham