Gaynor’s story

Gaynor’s regained self-confidence and decreased episodes of depression have led to a reduction in her medication and a greater ability to cope with anxiety. In addition, Gaynor has improved her life skills, is able to use money and engage in a variety of social acitivities.

Previously, Gaynor’s inability to comprehend large amounts of information often left her frustrated and she would challenge those around her, leading to a breakdown in relationships and social oportunities. But Yarrow, in partnership with Gaynor and other professionals, developed a support plan and a timetable to structure her day. Gaynor could understand its pictorial format and clear information so she was soon able to choose pictures to express her likes and dislikes.

Terri’s story

Terri regularly attends Metropolitan Police training and Yarrow’s Literacy Project, run by a specialist tutor at The Gate. Just six months previously, Terri would not have thought this possible. She had a succession of failed placements, largely due to her tendency to self-harm.  Terri discovered, with Yarrow’s help, that her low self-esteem and anxiety was set off by particular triggers, not least the constant moves.

These days, Terri’s intellectual capability and eloquence have shone through as Yarrow staff recognise the triggers and work to avoid them.  Terri’s greatest wish is to have a flat of her own and now she has a real chance of achieving this goal.

Tony's story

A large and physically fit man, Tony loves to walk – and fast. He does not use speech and has a dual diagnosis of learning disabilities and mental health issues, which has led to some aggression to both staff and the public. He can be unpredictable, often putting himself at risk by crossing the road suddenly.

Yarrow worked out that provided Tony always has the support of two highly trained support staff, (one of whom must have known him for at least six months) and provided specific strategies are put in place (that have been devised by a clinical psychologist), then Tony can enjoy the walks he loves so much. Indeed, since these interventions have been in place, there have been no major incidents on the two days he uses the Yarrow Short Breaks service.

Sue's story

Sue is currently working on a book of poems that have proved an excellent outlet for her thoughts and feelings and which she says help reduce her anxieties. In the past, Sue relied wholly on medication to manage her anxiety.

Sue wanted to move from the parental home into a supported living scheme, so she worked with Yarrow to make the transition – a transition that included gaining skills in areas such as paying bills, navigating London transport and managing her moods. When Sue made the move, it wasn’t without problems – the increased periods of isolation affected her anxiety, but together with her support staff, she is finding ways to deal with it and is enjoying her newfound independence. Sue no longer needs medication.

Vanessa's story

Vanessa has a great talent for poetry, inspired by her uncle, who was a published poet.  Vanessa writes imaginative prose about valuing the independence she has fought for. 

Vanessa's first work, Small Wonders, was published by The Gate Publishing, which is keen to encourage other writers with learning disabilities to come forward.  Vanessa is now working on her first novel.

Carlos's story

Nobody loves being out in his car more than Carlos. It’s the freedom that he most treasures, with favourite destinations including Buckingham Palace and Heathrow Airport. More recently, Carlos has also used the car to go on holiday to both Cornwall and Ireland. Prior to Carlos getting the car via the Motability Scheme, he seldom went out and became increasingly introverted.

The car, which Yarrow staff drive for Carlos, became somewhere he felt safe and empowered and today, he is confident, assertive and happy. He has even come off the medication he was taking for depression. Such is his love for his car that he sometimes uses it just to listen to music.