Lydia's story

Lydia speaks with confidence and has learnt to disagree with staff. Lydia was brought up in a children’s home, where she lived with nine others and just two staff on shift at any one time. Because there was little time for dedication to Lydia’s needs, the belief that she had rights and the urge to speak her mind were alien to her.

This all changed with Lydia’s move to supported living within Yarrow. She now shares a home with two other good friends with learning disabilities. She took part in her own risk assessment so that her abilities and anxieties were clearly identified at the outset and to ensure she was in control of her own life. Her 35 hours of support per week have now been cut to 10.

Marcus's story

Since Marcus started working at McDonald’s, he has been repeatedly promoted, moving from an ordinary crew member up to customer care assistant – a role in which he inducts new staff members. 

Marcus is such a highly valued member of staff at McDonald’s that a short article appeared about him in McDonald’s magazine. ‘I love everything about my job – working with other staff members and my manager, serving customers and making them happy – Oh and eating the food!’ he says. Marcus’s manager describes him as a ‘role model.’

Theo's story

Theo has now completed an album and embarked on a music course, and aims to become a professional songwriter and producer. Born in Nigeria, Theo's music is a mixture of African styles, rock, RnB and country music.  When he first joined The Gate, he was difficult to understand and it was not always clear what he was trying  to communicate.

Now he plays keyboards and  writes powerful, emotional songs about life, romance and  family. Theo  is renowned for his expressiveness while gigging and recording with Yarrow's band,the Rollmops.

Faisal's story

Faisal joined the Moment by Moment Theatre Company, where his exceptional acting ability quickly became clear.  He took a major role in the production – ‘Dumped - the Musical’! – after which The Gate put him in touch with a national theatre company for people with learning disabilities, called Mind the Gap. Having been coached by The Gate’s team throughout the audition process, Faisal won a place on Mind the Gap’s national scheme.

Since then, he has taken part in training programmes run by accredited drama schools and appeared in productions including Animal Farm, performed at the Bradford Arts Festival.

Ed's story

Ed lives independently, but he tends to stay away from community centres both due to lack of confidence and the fact that he has never found anything to his taste. He decided to give the “Me and My Community” session a go because it was relevant to his situation and because he hoped to meet like-minded people. He quickly became involved in discussions and his confidence markedly improved. Ed is now considering becoming involved in some of the arts projects at The Gate to satisfy his interest in technology and production.

Don's story

Don moved into a Yarrow Independent Living scheme in Hillingdon, so he thought he would try The Gate.  He decided to learn how to get there independently.  He checks with support staff that he has his Freedom pass and mobile phone charged before he sets off and so he can receive regular phone calls to check he is OK. 

Don now travels everywhere on his own.  ‘I enjoy The Gate because of the staff and other people who go to Behind the Headlines’ he says. ‘It’s fun.’