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When you’re a young adult with support needs, transitioning to a very different setting can feel daunting.

For Alisha, the transition to a different setting meant moving from a college for people with disabilities, to a Lifeways supported living shared house.

In 2019, Alisha had spent two years at National Star College in Cheltenham, having enrolled when she was 19. While there, she lived alongside 23 other students at the college’s student accommodation in Gloucester.

Alisha enjoyed her time at college. “While I was at National Star they taught me to be as independent as possible,” she says. “Even if I couldn’t do something fully they’d teach me to be able to direct my own care.”

While at college, Alisha took part in drama productions, and spent time with the student union – which she says helped build her people skills.

Making the transition

Alisha loved having her independence at National Star College. When the time came to move on, she was keen to transition into supported living.

After finding out about Lifeways during a transition event, Alisha went to visit a Lifeways property near her.

“[I] thought it was perfect,” she remembered thinking as she saw the Lifeways service for the first time. “I could really make it my own.”

Independence is important to Alisha. While at college, she’d already decided she didn’t want to live too near her parents, so that she wouldn’t lose the skills she’d learned.

“My family wanted the best outcome for me, but to be honest mum wanted me to live nearer to her,” said Alisha. “Lifeways reassured her that I’d have full control of my support and she would still be able to be in the picture as much as she could, so I think that helped her accept my decision.”

Moving in

Since moving in to the supported living service, which is based in Gloucester, Alisha has flourished. She feels she enjoys life to the full.

“I was so happy when I moved in – although it was a bit weird going from living with 23 other people to being just me and one member of staff. I felt like I had really accomplished something.”

As an individual we support at Lifeways, Alisha was involved in choosing her Support Team. She decorated her room in the colour she wanted, and put up quotes on the walls. “I’ve made it feel like home,” she says.

Alisha also enjoys spending time with housemates, now that more people have moved to the supported living shared house. “We sometimes do theme nights and group dinners,” she says. “It feels like a homely, friendly environment.”

Future goals

Alisha also enjoys keeping fit. As you can see in the picture above, she’s a big fan of boxing – which she does with her Support Team.

Her goals for the future are to get a job – “maybe something in advocacy,” she says. For fun, she’s hoping to go on an adventure park holiday, and go to concerts.

Now that she’s settled and happy where she lives, Alisha’s looking forward to what the future holds.

“Lifeways has helped me to carry on directing my independence, and carry on doing the things I enjoy,” Alisha says.

About Lifeways:

Lifeways is the UK's largest team of professionals who support adults living with complex needs in the community. Across England, Scotland, and Wales, we support adults with needs including learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries, and mental health conditions.

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