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I've spent nearly 15 years on DIY SOS
working to transform houses across Britain,
taking run-down properties and creating dream homes.
But I know that a house is not just bricks and mortar.
It has to be a place with love and security, a home.
Around a million adults in the UK have a learning disability.
For these people, creating a place they can call home
can be incredibly difficult.
This is Andrew. He was born with a learning disability.
He's 27 years old, and he struggles to do many everyday things.
I make my mistakes.
Sometimes I get a little bit in trouble,
because I don't know what it means.
Mo is Andrew's support worker and has known him for over ten years.
Andrew is a very caring person, very sensitive.
He's a very, very loyal friend.
Wow, this is a nice cup of coffee.
But Andrew isn't able to live independently at the moment
because simple things like preparing simple meals and things,
he would struggle with.
All Andrew wants is an opportunity to learn the skills that will
help him to have a place of his own, but to do that, he needs help.
I live with my mum, and I dream about to live in a house
because I want to be independent.
Those with a learning disability can need specialist help
to achieve their potential.
That's why I'm supporting FitzRoy,
a charity dedicated to empowering those with learning disabilities,
even those with complex needs.
Nathan was born a normal, healthy child,
but at the age of about three months one night time, he went into a coma
and it was impossible to wake him.
A rare condition, which left Nathan unable to break down proteins,
put him in a coma for a week,
causing severe and lasting brain damage.
Nathan is now 40 years old, but has a mental age and abilities
of around about a three or four-month-old child.
Parents are not around for ever,
and the thought that continually came into my mind was,
"What will happen with Nathan as I grew older,
"and become unable, physically,
"probably, to be able to care for him?"
20 years ago, Nathan's parents started to look for a place
that could provide the round-the-clock specialist care
that Nathan needed, and that's where FitzRoy came in.
Sometimes people with learning disabilities can need a high level
of support, whilst others simply need help gaining independence.
FitzRoy believe that everyone should be given the power
to gain as much control as possible over their own lives.
The charity runs 13 full time residential care homes
as well as 39 centres that provide supported living.
I've come to visit one of these in Hampshire.
Nicky has been looked after by the charity
since he was five years old. He's now 50.
So we're here to see the whole place.
Where do you want to show me first?
This year, he moved out of one of their large residential care homes
into a smaller home that still offers 24-hour support,
but allows Nicky much greater independence.
Oh, that's good, you've got little key fobs to get in and out.
-That's very handy.
-All the time.
Where do you put your clothes for washing and things like that?
-In the basket.
-And who does your washing?
-I do it myself.
-Oh, do you? Do you?
He shares a living room and kitchen with four housemates.
Do you take it in turns or is there one person who cooks all the time?
We all take it in turns.
The house is equipped with assistive tools such as a lift
for residents with mobility problems and even a talking microwave.
'Start. High power, one minute.'
There are also support workers on hand
to help the residents do what they want to do.
All this means Nicky has more control of his life
than he ever did before.
-Nice to see you.
-Nice to see you too.
To see you, nice.
THEY BOTH LAUGH
FitzRoy makes a real difference to people's lives.
They believe the right technology,
together with the correct staff support,
means people with any degree of learning disability
can achieve a fulfilling life.
20 years ago, Nathan's parents discovered FitzRoy.
The atmosphere that we picked up when we arrived here
was a very, very pleasant, happy type of atmosphere.
At their residential home in Malvern,
Nathan gets 24-hour dedicated personal care.
Nathan gets music therapy and aromatherapy and even physiotherapy.
Yeah. Is that nice?
They make great efforts to get to know Nathan
and to get to know the detail of what activities he enjoys.
Nathan regularly spends time in a sensory room that gives him
the freedom of being out of his wheelchair
in a stimulating environment.
I know that FitzRoy have given him
the best quality of life that he could ever have dreamed.
For those with less complex needs, living at home is an option,
and FitzRoy works to help them
live more independently in the community.
The charity are teaching Andrew the skills
he will need to become more independent.
Right, come on.
-Um, have you onions?
-A couple of onions, please.
Every weekday, he spends time with his support workers,
learning fundamental skills.
Is it clear to cross?
-Right, over we go, then.
'Andrew's doing really well with this. He's so confident on the roads,
'and he's pretty much there with crossing roads on his own.
We've also been working on some courses lately about life skills,
food hygiene, health and safety, sort of basic living skills.
The charity also places a lot of importance on making friends,
realising that people with learning disabilities
can all too easily become isolated.
I've done bowling, swimming, gym.
He's grown so much in the time, sort of the last few years
since I've known him and he's been coming here.
His confidence has just blossomed.
I'm happy now because this is part of to be independent.
-There you go.
He is desperate to be a normal young man in a house of his own,
doing his own thing.
And I think with the right help
and with us continuing to help him along
and empowering him to do things for himself,
then, yeah, he's got a good chance of achieving that dream.
Thanks a lot, cheers, bye, thank you!
FitzRoy want to be able to give people the ability
to make choices in their lives.
They believe having a learning disability shouldn't exclude
or hold people back from doing the things they want to do.
With your help, it won't.
Please go to the website, where you can donate.
If you don't have access to the internet, then call.
And if you can't get through, please, please keep trying.
Also, you can donate £10 by texting...
Texts cost £10, plus your standard network message charge
and the whole £10 goes to FitzRoy.
Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.
Telephone calls are free from most landlines.
Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.
Or if you'd like to post a donation,
please make your cheque payable to FITZROY SUPPORT and send it to...
..writing "FitzRoy" on the back of the envelope.
Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,
the charity can collect Gift Aid on your donation,
worth another 25%. Just send in a note
to say you want your donation to be subject to Gift Aid
and include the date, your full name and address.