FitzRoy Lifeline


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FitzRoy

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles makes an appeal on behalf of FitzRoy, a charity that works to transform the lives of people with learning disabilities.


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I've spent nearly 15 years on DIY SOS

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working to transform houses across Britain,

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taking run-down properties and creating dream homes.

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But I know that a house is not just bricks and mortar.

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It has to be a place with love and security, a home.

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Around a million adults in the UK have a learning disability.

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For these people, creating a place they can call home

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can be incredibly difficult.

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This is Andrew. He was born with a learning disability.

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He's 27 years old, and he struggles to do many everyday things.

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I make my mistakes.

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When I'm...

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Sometimes I get a little bit in trouble,

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because I don't know what it means.

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Mo is Andrew's support worker and has known him for over ten years.

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Andrew is a very caring person, very sensitive.

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He's a very, very loyal friend.

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Wow, this is a nice cup of coffee.

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But Andrew isn't able to live independently at the moment

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because simple things like preparing simple meals and things,

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he would struggle with.

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All Andrew wants is an opportunity to learn the skills that will

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help him to have a place of his own, but to do that, he needs help.

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I live with my mum, and I dream about to live in a house

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because I want to be independent.

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Those with a learning disability can need specialist help

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to achieve their potential.

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That's why I'm supporting FitzRoy,

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a charity dedicated to empowering those with learning disabilities,

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even those with complex needs.

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Like Nathan.

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Nathan was born a normal, healthy child,

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but at the age of about three months one night time, he went into a coma

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and it was impossible to wake him.

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A rare condition, which left Nathan unable to break down proteins,

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put him in a coma for a week,

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causing severe and lasting brain damage.

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Nathan is now 40 years old, but has a mental age and abilities

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of around about a three or four-month-old child.

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Parents are not around for ever,

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and the thought that continually came into my mind was,

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"What will happen with Nathan as I grew older,

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"and become unable, physically,

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"probably, to be able to care for him?"

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20 years ago, Nathan's parents started to look for a place

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that could provide the round-the-clock specialist care

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that Nathan needed, and that's where FitzRoy came in.

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Sometimes people with learning disabilities can need a high level

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of support, whilst others simply need help gaining independence.

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FitzRoy believe that everyone should be given the power

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to gain as much control as possible over their own lives.

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The charity runs 13 full time residential care homes

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as well as 39 centres that provide supported living.

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I've come to visit one of these in Hampshire.

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Hello, Nicky.

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Nicky has been looked after by the charity

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since he was five years old. He's now 50.

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So we're here to see the whole place.

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Where do you want to show me first?

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My room.

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This year, he moved out of one of their large residential care homes

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into a smaller home that still offers 24-hour support,

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but allows Nicky much greater independence.

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Oh, that's good, you've got little key fobs to get in and out.

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-Yes.

-That's very handy.

-All the time.

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Where do you put your clothes for washing and things like that?

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-In the basket.

-And who does your washing?

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-I do it myself.

-Oh, do you? Do you?

-Yeah.

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He shares a living room and kitchen with four housemates.

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Do you take it in turns or is there one person who cooks all the time?

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We all take it in turns.

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The house is equipped with assistive tools such as a lift

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for residents with mobility problems and even a talking microwave.

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'Start. High power, one minute.'

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There are also support workers on hand

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to help the residents do what they want to do.

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All this means Nicky has more control of his life

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than he ever did before.

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-Nice to see you.

-Nice to see you too.

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To see you, nice.

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THEY BOTH LAUGH

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FitzRoy makes a real difference to people's lives.

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They believe the right technology,

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together with the correct staff support,

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means people with any degree of learning disability

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can achieve a fulfilling life.

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20 years ago, Nathan's parents discovered FitzRoy.

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The atmosphere that we picked up when we arrived here

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was a very, very pleasant, happy type of atmosphere.

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At their residential home in Malvern,

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Nathan gets 24-hour dedicated personal care.

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Nathan gets music therapy and aromatherapy and even physiotherapy.

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Yeah. Is that nice?

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They make great efforts to get to know Nathan

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and to get to know the detail of what activities he enjoys.

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Nathan regularly spends time in a sensory room that gives him

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the freedom of being out of his wheelchair

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in a stimulating environment.

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I know that FitzRoy have given him

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the best quality of life that he could ever have dreamed.

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For those with less complex needs, living at home is an option,

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and FitzRoy works to help them

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live more independently in the community.

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The charity are teaching Andrew the skills

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he will need to become more independent.

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Right, come on.

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-Um, have you onions?

-A couple of onions, please.

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Every weekday, he spends time with his support workers,

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learning fundamental skills.

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Is it clear to cross?

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-Yes.

-Right, over we go, then.

-Thank you.

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'Andrew's doing really well with this. He's so confident on the roads,

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'and he's pretty much there with crossing roads on his own.

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We've also been working on some courses lately about life skills,

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food hygiene, health and safety, sort of basic living skills.

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The charity also places a lot of importance on making friends,

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realising that people with learning disabilities

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can all too easily become isolated.

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I've done bowling, swimming, gym.

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He's grown so much in the time, sort of the last few years

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since I've known him and he's been coming here.

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His confidence has just blossomed.

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THEY CHEER

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I'm happy now because this is part of to be independent.

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-£3.31, please.

-There you go.

-Lovely.

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He is desperate to be a normal young man in a house of his own,

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doing his own thing.

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And I think with the right help

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and with us continuing to help him along

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and empowering him to do things for himself,

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then, yeah, he's got a good chance of achieving that dream.

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Thanks a lot, cheers, bye, thank you!

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FitzRoy want to be able to give people the ability

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to make choices in their lives.

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They believe having a learning disability shouldn't exclude

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or hold people back from doing the things they want to do.

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With your help, it won't.

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Please go to the website, where you can donate.

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If you don't have access to the internet, then call.

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And if you can't get through, please, please keep trying.

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Also, you can donate £10 by texting...

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Texts cost £10, plus your standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to FitzRoy.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to FITZROY SUPPORT and send it to...

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..writing "FitzRoy" on the back of the envelope.

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Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,

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the charity can collect Gift Aid on your donation,

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worth another 25%. Just send in a note

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to say you want your donation to be subject to Gift Aid

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and include the date, your full name and address.

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Thank you.

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DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles makes an appeal on behalf of FitzRoy, a charity that works to transform the lives of people with learning disabilities, helping them live more independently at home and in the community.

He visits Nicholas in his new home, where he has real choice in how he lives, who he shares his home with, and what support he needs. For the first time in his life Nicholas, who had lived in a large residential care home since the age of five, has a level of genuine independence.