Housing Option – Lift Open Market Shared Equity Scheme
“The Right House, in the Right Place-with the Right Support”
For the past two years Graeme has been living in “The right House, in the Right Place” –a modern flat near to friends and family in East Dunbartonshire.
Throughout his life Graeme has coped with a variety of psychological problems, which became particularly prominent after he finished school. This change was typically challenging, resulting in a worsening of Graeme’s bi-polar disorder and depression. His condition was complicated by a severe bout of pneumonia.
For thirty three years Graeme lived at home with his parents. This was partly due to his continued illness, and also because of the lack of availability of suitable housing. Throughout this time his mother, Christine campaigned for a council flat in the right location for Graeme. Unfortunately East Dunbartonshire, in common with many local authorities, has an acute shortage of social rented housing. Graeme’s mum was “at the end of her tether” when she contacted Housing Options Scotland.
Through Housing Options Scotland Graeme was able to find a new flat which he could afford with the help of the Government LIFT scheme, which is designed to fund first time home buyers who are in need of support. The Link Group which administers LIFT on behalf of the Scottish Government worked hard to adapt the LIFT scheme to meet Graeme’s specific needs.
Graeme’s flat is ideal for him; it is within walking distance of many of his friends and family and very close to public transport hubs. Graeme is able to navigate his way around Glasgow using the bus and train routes very easily, so living in this area has opened the city up for him in a new way. Aside from this, he is now even closer to the home of Partick Thistle, the Firhill football stadium and also the West of Scotland rugby ground. As a keen football supported and sports enthusiast, this has allowed him to meet people with similar interests and expand his social life. Graeme can also walk his dog, Ella, in the surrounding area.
One of the most important aspects of Graeme’s life is socialising and broadening his horizons through further and higher education courses. While he has always had a wide circle of friends, they have been mainly through his family, and living with his parents has limited his opportunities to socialise and work.
One of the central changes to Graeme’s life has been finding personal support, which has come through the voluntary organisation Inclusion Glasgow. Graeme and his support worker David first met in mid-2011, and they now spend roughly 18 hours together a week. While David is primarily a social support for Graeme, through their work together he is also developing a wide range of new skills and enjoying diverse experiences. This includes having fun; attending football matches and going to Glasgow attractions, but also learning necessary skills such as healthy cooking.
Graeme, David and Christine recently shared their experiences with a group of support staff from Affinity who were taking part in a Housing Options Scotland training course. Graeme enjoyed this experience and the participants found his story inspirational.
The funding for Graeme’s support is under threat and so David and Graeme are now aiming to focus on improving Graeme’s life skills. He is currently investigating job opportunities, in particular working in maintenance at a golf course or football pitch. In addition to this he is developing relationships with new people in similar situations to his through online group Dates and Mates, which is a dating and friendship group for people with learning disabilities.
Through moving into his new home, Graeme has improved not only his quality of living and work opportunities, he has also formed his own independent life and created a supportive community of his own.