Read all about our NEW supported living service in Wales, Newport – Ty Cwtch
“Although the Welsh name ‘Ty Cwtch’ has no direct translation in English, its closest meaning is ‘a cuddle’ or ‘a hug’ or ‘a small safe space.’ If you were to say, “come here and give me a Cwtch,” people would know exactly what you meant.”
Judith Capel-Jarvis, Community Support Manager at Consensus’ new supported living service in the village of Caerleon, near Newport in Wales, is explaining the meaning of its name and in this case, the meaning could not be more apt. “It really is a home from home,” adds Judith.
The new service was developed to replace another Consensus supported living service located in the same village and is now home to the three gentleman who used to live there. Supported by the same long-standing team, the service really does create that reassurance and comfort of being held in a familiar and safe pair of arms.
Judith explains, “The name was selected by the supported individuals themselves as being a name that to them represented the homely, comfortable atmosphere of their home.”
“What really strikes people when they visit is how much this really is the individuals’ home. We are their guests and that’s wonderful and how it should be.”
“With photos of the individuals and their nearest and dearest displayed throughout the house, framed poems they have written adorning the walls and the décor and colour schemes all selected by the individuals themselves, you could be stepping into any one of your friends’ homes,” adds Judith.
Ty Cwtch, which opened in February 2021, is a supported living service consisting of six bedrooms, offering support and accommodation for adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues and autism who wish to live their life more independently but with the dedicated support they need.
The service was developed after an internal review revealed that the old service was no longer fit for purpose. Rather than attempting to refurbish it, the decision was made to develop a brand-new modern home that could not only meet the needs of the individuals living there but also any future needs of the local area.
Ty Cwtch is overseen on a daily basis by Margaret (Maggs) Lewis who worked at the former service which Ty Cwtch replaced. Many of the team were also at the service for over 10 years, so this means that Maggs and the team continuing at Ty Cwtch know the people living there very well. Through this experience they are able to provide person-centred support to the individuals who moved from the previous service, as well as ensuring that new people are welcomed into Ty Cwtch enabling them to call the place their home.
“An absolute priority for the team was that the new service be located in the same village, as it has been the supported individuals’ home for the last 20 years and it was important that they could maintain the strong connections they have with their community,” explains Judith.
“The old property was up on a hill leading out of the village and with all the individuals supported in the service being in their sixties and one individual already having mobility issues, it was important to find somewhere that could meet their needs now but also in 10-20 years’ time.”
“Ty Cwtch is in the heart of the village, a few minutes’ walk from the centre. It is more level so easily accessible and close to the local Sainsbury’s which is great for the supported individuals who all like to do their own shopping with support.”
The whole project took 18 months from the time it was agreed, and a property was identified, to the time the individuals moved into the service. To support a successful transition, the supported individuals were informed one month before and the support team six months before so they could start preparing ahead of time.
Judith explains, “Moving homes is very stressful for the average person so for the individuals we support this would have been more heightened. To ensure there was a smooth transition, the support team worked with each person in an individualised way and planned the move meticulously.”
“From developing social stories to support their understanding, to building up the excitement around moving into a new home and managing any anxieties, all the way through to organising the logistics of packing and moving everything over to the new house and helping each supported individual to plan furniture and decorate their new rooms – they showed an unwavering commitment to ensuring the individuals were supported throughout with minimal disruption to their lives.”
“They also made sure the individuals’ families were involved at every stage. They were invited to view the new property beforehand and liked the feel of it straightaway as they could see how many additional benefits it would provide to their loved ones,” adds Judith.
The team also worked closely with Consensus’ Development team on the timing of the move. The supported individuals wanted to have one last Christmas in their old home before moving into their new one, so the move was timed to meet their wishes.
They also played an important role in deciding which room was best suited to each individual, for instance; the person with mobility issues was put on the first floor because climbing the stairs is part of his physiotherapy, whereas another individual was put on the ground floor because he is very social and likes to know what is happening in the kitchen and other communal areas, so it fitted with his needs of being close to the action.
“The three gentlemen have settled in very quickly. Previously they did not have en-suite bathrooms so that was new for them and they were supported to choose new bedding and wardrobes and to put shelves up if they wished to in order to create their own homely environment within their own space,” says Judith.
Just a few weeks after they moved in, they welcomed another supported individual called Ian. Judith explains, “Ian had been living in Newport but was keen to move back to Caerleon to be closer to his mum who lives in a care home in the village. The move has helped to make the connection with his mum stronger as he is able to visit her more regularly.”
“Ian is approaching 60 and has settled in very well with other individuals who live here. Through person-centred planning, the team identify and plan activities around his likes, dislikes and goals. He enjoys a spot of gardening and is growing some flowers and runner beans. He also has his own mobility vehicle, so the support team often take him on days out.”
“There is a new gentleman called James moving in soon who is visually impaired, the team are looking at re-modelling the garden and creating a sensory area which will be particularly beneficial to him,” adds Judith.
All the supported individuals enjoy getting out and about in their local community and enjoy being close to the town centre where they can easily access the local shops and other amenities. Judith says, “The individuals are very well known around the village, whether it is visiting the local opticians or having lunch in the local pub, they always receive a warm welcome.”
“There is plenty for them to do here with the local leisure centre and museums within walking distance. They also enjoy going on day trips to the seaside or taking the train into Barry.”
“Although they are all independent and have their own daily activities, the individuals all get on well and often enjoy having a Sunday Roast together prepared by the team. When the weather is good, they also enjoy BBQ’s and beer and cider nights in the back garden. Halloween and Christmas are a big thing for the people we support with lots of decorations being put up – many of the decorations are crafted by the individuals with lots of enthusiasm.”
“The support team are all very attached to the individuals who live here and have close but appropriate relationships with them. They are also a very close-knit team and are all extremely supportive of one another.”