New skills fund fun in New Zealand
Ben at 24 years old has spent a number of years within Consensus homes, settling two years ago in Carmarthenshire. He lives with learning difficulties but is verbal and perfectly mobile and so having his own flat gives him the space he desires to lead a more independent lifestyle with support and guidance from the skilled team, parents and social worker.
A move to a supported living service, meant a number of new opportunities were available to Ben; one of these was the prospect of managing his finances. Ben was extremely excited at the prospect of managing his own finances and spending money and the first few months saw Ben spend all his money for the month in the first few days of that month leaving him short for essentials. He enjoyed buying food, but would purchase items with short shelf lives that would need consuming at once rather than last for a period of time. This posed a few challenges for Ben and the team as he faced too much month at the end of the money. As Ben is a young adult with capacity the team are only able to guide and advise, but not manage his money for him and so they shared concerns with Bens parents who were able to help Ben by becoming his Appointee. The topic of money was presenting a barrier between Ben and the team and so the strong relationship built with Ben’s family was crucial in de-escalating the situation. Ben’s finances are now claimed by his mum and requested by Ben and or the team on his behalf on an agreed regular basis. Ben has found that this works much better for him and whilst he has the freedom to spend his finances how he chooses, he knows he won’t be left too long without, if he does overspend during any particular week. This has meant the conversations around money have become much easier between Ben and the team and they are now able to coach him on budgeting and saving as well as how to shop for food that can feed him for a week. The team have supported Ben with learning how to plan meals for the week, understand labels on packaging and how long items remain safe to eat and how much his shop may cost. Ben is able to shop now with a growing confidence evidencing that he can budget and pay for his goods and work out what change he may be due that he can spend on the odd additional treat.
Ben is extremely resourceful and has applied for many jobs in order to earn himself money to do other things he enjoys. Most recently Ben secured himself a role through a local agency to pick litter at festivals throughout the summer. There were two benefits for Ben in doing this the first was that he could be a part of the festivals he enjoys going to, whilst earning money for being there and secondly that he could have funds to see him through each week whilst he enlisted his mum to save some of his normal income towards a long distance trip he was keen to undertake. Whilst the work wasn’t always easy and the weather brought an earlier close to this experience than Ben had hoped it served its purpose and earnt Ben sufficient extra money to pay for a much wanted trip to New Zealand!
Ben is a keen Rugby player and fan. He is a member of The Llanelli Warriors, a local mixed ability team who regularly train and play matches. In July the team went to Auckland, New Zealand from Heathrow. He enjoyed a top game Samoa v Wales at Eden Park and got himself a chat with Gareth Davies and Wyn Jones. In order to go the team had raised a considerable sum between them by completing fundraising activities, which included Ben packing bags for customers in Aldi’s with his team mates.
Once back in Wales Ben resumed normal Rugby duties training and attending his favourite team ‘Scarlets’ when they have a match. The season ticket is a gift from his parents each year and something Ben gets a great deal of pleasure from.
Family play a large role in Ben’s life and although they live nearly an hour away he enjoys meals out with his mum on a weekly basis and night at the cinema with Dad fortnightly. Ben leads a busy life and finds these visits work well in between his training, volunteering and time spent seeking further employment opportunities. Ben is an active volunteer at a local youth drop in centre Dr M’z which provides a comfortable, safe, informative and stimulating place for young people aged 11- 25 to meet.
Since moving into his supported living setting Ben has grown in confidence, has become more self-assured and has increased his self-esteem. He engages well with his support network and values their guidance and support.
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