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Brigette walks again with Northfields’ support

28th October 2022

At our Northfields residential care home in Norwich, Brigette has gone from wheelchair bound and lacking in confidence to walking unaided and full of life thanks to her hard work, the support of our staff and a local not for profit service, Able2b.

Brigette was living at home when she suffered a life changing event. She had a stroke and developed a brain tumour. An operation to remove the tumour was a success but the complexity of her support needs after her stroke meant that it was difficult to find her an appropriate place to live where she would receive the care that she needed. The team at Northfields have supported several people with complex support needs who were in danger of ending up being stuck in hospital with nowhere to go. Sadly, a problem that is all too common across the hospital system.

Deputy manager Zoe said: “Social workers have placed people here before, so they know the difference we make – they know the history and backgrounds of the people we support, and can see how they’ve improved here, so we’re often their first port of call now hoping we’ve got a vacancy.

When Brigette arrived, she was in a wheelchair, struggling with her health and lacking in confidence and self-esteem. She really struggled with the change in her life. and it has been a lot of hard work, but she’s totally transformed now and that’s down to the staff team and their dedication and the support of professionals and their guidance.

“We support Lynne, who came to FitzRoy for respite care when her mum developed dementia. When you meet Lynne, she comes across as very capable and able, but she struggled to manage when she was living alone. Once back at home, her health seriously deteriorated. She lost her mobility and had lots of health issues. We saw that she needed long term support, and it was a relief when she moved in so we could support her properly and not just offer respite. One of our support workers recommended Able2B for Lynne, as her brother had been going there. The way they worked with Lynne and supported her was just brilliant. She doesn’t go anymore as she doesn’t need to, plus she is too busy doing other things and enjoying her independence. Her confidence has skyrocketed!

“After seeing the impact of Able2B on Lynne, we knew that it could be great for Brigette too and several other people we support at Northfields.”

Able2B was set up by Rachael, an experienced orthopaedic surgeon and Jon, a former professional boxer.

Rachael said, “We aim to help children and adults with a disability optimise their aerobic fitness and muscle strength as well as improve their concentration and self confidence in a fun way. It’s also about challenging other people’s perception of what these children and adults can do. When people only ever say ‘you can’t do that’ it becomes self-limiting and we want to break that.”

Jon said, “When Brigette started, she had no confidence in her physical ability, so we worked with her to build it up alongside her mobility and now she’s the life and soul whenever she attends. She loves to be the centre of attention.”

Brigette’s sister Lesley said “I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to the managers and staff at Northfields. Their love, care and attention meant that my sister was not confined to a wheelchair. Their patience has enabled her to have a quality of life we didn’t ever dare to hope for or expect. Brigette is happy because of their care.”