Nancy’s Story – The Manor

August 4, 2016

Doing what makes you happy and enjoying every day.

Born in Germany in 1955 Nancy spent time in San Francisco and Washington before coming to live in England at the age of Seven. In this country, Nancy has spent her life being supported in residential environments. Since 1999, she has enjoyed life in the company of some long term friends at ‘The Manor,’ in Purley, some of whom she had shared a home with in the past.

Nancy lives with a learning disability but, with support from the team at The Manor and her sister, this doesn’t stop her from leading a very full and active life.

A week in the life of Nancy would leave many others of a similar age worn out and as the manager of The Manor talks about a normal week for Nancy you can feel her smiling as she says “Wednesdays are Nancy’s day off!”

Not far from The Manor Consensus also offers opportunities for people with learning disabilities to enjoy spending time on a working farm. Nancy had expressed a desire to visit Tandridge Hill Farm and has not looked back. She now works there outside with the animals three days a week whilst also finding time in her day to work towards her ASDAN qualifications with the full support of the team, who are also on hand at the farm.

When working outside she helps to look after a range of animals including horses, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and quails. She helps feed them, clean them out, and grooms them. Nancy’s favourite animals on the farm are the goats, which she likes to help clean out. She enjoys replacing dirty straw with clean straw, and making their enclosures clean and tidy for them to rest comfortably.

In the classroom, Nancy has been working towards different ASDAN programmes. ASDAN is an organisation offering programmes and qualifications that enable people to develop their skills in different areas. So far, Nancy has completed three different courses, Independent Living, Horticulture and Animals, which have given her completely different new skills.

On the Independent Living Course, she learnt skills in how to be independent e.g. cooking, cleaning, changing bed sheets etc. The Horticulture course, enabled Nancy to learn about growing her own plants and vegetables. She now appreciates the time it takes for a plant to grow, and what she needs to do in order to keep it healthy.

During the Animal course, Nancy was asked to choose a particular animal to learn to look after. Without hesitation she chose a cat. Nancy then went on to learn about the costs involved in keeping a cat, how to look after it and the extra care and things the animal may need such as veterinary treatments.

Nancy worked really hard throughout all these courses and recently attended a ceremony at the farm where she received several ASDAN certificates. It was a great day attended by friends, family and teams from several homes nearby.

Always keen to increase her skills and knowledge Nancy has now started a new ASDAN course. Personal and Social Development at Entry Level 1 and is currently undertaking the Healthy Living unit. She enjoys her time at the farm, and is hardworking in whatever is thrown at her.

A good work life balance is essential for all of us and Nancy achieves this through regular communication and contact with her sister along with enjoying a few other leisure activities. Nancy visits her sister, who teaches in London, calling it her home away from home, frequently staying overnight and enjoying days out together. She has made many friends there and is a much loved and supported member of her sister’s community. They call each other often and talk about their day and mull over challenges and ways to overcome them.

One recent challenge was a visit to the dentist. Again, many of us would share the nervousness Nancy felt about the visit and not least because Nancy was facing a tooth extraction. She had been supported to visit the dentist a number of times prior to the procedure to help with any anxiety and on the day was supported whilst in the dentist chair to overcome anxieties. Nancy was so pleased with the way everything had gone she leapt out of the chair and hugged the dentist.

Working and studying are just a part of the week’s schedule, and on a Thursday Nancy visits the local swimming pool with her support worker enjoying a swim and the relaxation that being in the pool provides. These visits are purely for pleasure but form part of a very healthy lifestyle Nancy has developed.

Nancy shared with the team at The Manor that she had once loved to cook and they searched for an opportunity for her to enjoy this again. They found a local club in Caterham that offers ‘Bake Space’ sessions and arranged for Nancy to attend with another close friend from the home. It’s a one and a half hour session where Nancy and her friend cook a meal each, with fresh ingredients. Each week, they bring it back home to share and enjoy with each other. They are incredibly proud of the techniques they have learnt and the skills they’ve developed and love to come home and talk about their sessions with others at home.

Not one to sit still, Nancy also travels with support to another local club, ‘The Monday Club’ which runs regular discos which offering the opportunity for Nancy to dance away a few hours with more friends she has made and enjoys catching up with.

Towards the end of the week Nancy visits a sports club run by Anne, a former support worker known to Nancy whom she holds dear and loves to remain in contact with. She participates in a class whilst there and takes time to chat with Anne.

It is no surprise with such an active life that Nancy also has quite an active social life. She is frequently receiving invitations to parties locally and often juggling her diary to ensure she makes the most of every opportunity.

Nancy celebrated her 60th birthday recently and the support team arranged a fabulous party with a visit from tribute performer Elvis, Nancy’s favourite and a present from her sister. The team also discussed with Nancy ideas for the day itself and as Nancy is a huge fan of Peppa Pig, the television character, they supported her in arranging a trip to ‘Paultons Family Theme Park’ in the New Forest, Hampshire. This involved organising a mini bus for Nancy and two close friends with additional support workers to travel and enjoy a tour together with lunch.

Nancy lives the life she chooses and enjoys every day doing what makes her happy. She is an inspiration to many she meets and loved by her support team.