On Friday I took a call from a lady called Joan**. 17 years ago Joan’s son Steve was attacked by a group of lads who left him with severe head injuries. The injuries lead to some “mental problems” and Joan cared for him for several years until her own ill health meant she could no longer cope. Steve went to live in a local home. The problems of her son affected her husband, who turned to drink. Her husband became violent and abusive and Joan was visited by the Domestic Abuse Unit on 21 separate occasions. Her husband finally left, taking Joan’s last £30 from her purse.
Joan’s health has deteriorated even further and she had not left her house other than to go into hospital in the past 3 years.
Joan had received a letter last year that Circle was coming to the Rochdale area sometime in 2013. She had enquired at the time as she was interested in the Practical Helper Service. She struggled with mobility, her garden was becoming over run and she couldn’t do simple tasks, such as changing light bulbs. Joan saw an article that went out in The Carers News Magazine about Circle last week saying that Circle had arrived, so on the back of that she rang me to see how she went about getting her bits of jobs done.
I went to see her on Monday to see what jobs we could do once Steve our Practical Helper starts work. It was during this conversation she told me her story. When she said she hadn’t left the house in 3 years I told her I would make it my job to get her out at some point in the future.
She said that all her social workers, home helps, doctors, consultants even her son have told her she needs to get out but with no success. We discussed what Circle does and what Circle is about and Joan really was taken by it.
So at 11.50am Tuesday morning Joan is being picked up by Taxi and she is coming to the Flying Horse Hotel in Rochdale to join us for our St. Georges Day Lunch event. After 3 years of being a prisoner in her own home Joan is coming out! As a postscript to this Joan, arrived at the Flying Horse in her “Sunday Best”. She said that her home help had called on her this morning and asked “Why are you all dressed up?” Joan replied “I’m dressed up because I am going out!”
–Mark Wynn is Director at Rochdale Circle CIC.
** The names have been changed out of courtesy.
Image by Let Ideas Compete, via the Flickr Creative Commons.