News & Events

Leigh goes on her first holiday with Autism Initiatives

Posted on 18th December 2023

Leigh, who uses our Supported Living services in Blackpool, has just got home from her first ever holiday. This is a huge achievement for both Leigh and the team.

When Leigh initially moved into the service, a holiday seemed almost impossible. The team were working alongside her on a 3:1 basis and just accessing the community safely could be challenging. However, over the past few years, Leigh has accomplished a number of significant milestones with the support of the staff team, meaning that they were able to reduce Leigh’s staffing to 2:1.

For example, after years of not wanting to visit the hospital or a doctor for her medical needs, Leigh was successfully supported into temporary accommodation at short notice and then hospital for major dental surgery.

They decided to go away on holiday because Leigh was having some major renovations done at home to install a wet room.

Sensory baths and water play are a key part of her support, so as you can imagine, finding the right location for the holiday was vital. The team found Brick House cottage in Lancashire; a fantastic luxury assessable accommodation set in 6 beautiful acres of countryside.

The team put a lot of work into supporting Leigh’s understanding of going on the holiday and what it would entail. The team showed her lots of photos and even made a book about what to expect.

Service Manager, Sandra Mitchinson who has worked at the service in Blackpool for 8 years, was asked to put together a case study for the local authority. While completing it, she added a poem about Leigh reaching this amazing milestone, which you can read at the base of this article.

Area Manager Nick Goodchild says: “I remember when Sandra first started at AI. It has been amazing seeing her grow in confidence and the positive impact she has had on Leigh’s quality of life. I just couldn’t be prouder and feel so confident that the service is in good hands with Sandra as Manager.”

After seeing the photos from the holiday, Leigh’s Dad said: “I think going on the holiday was brilliant idea! So often when change is necessary for Leigh, we have always considered what may go wrong and how to manage that and consistently she surprises me in amazing ways. Moving during renovations, her operation and now the holiday; it was really inspiring and emotional to see her go away on holiday and be such a success and see her so happy and settled. Obviously so much preparation, consideration and effort goes into making that a success and I think you all did an amazing job - thank you so much.”

Read Sandra's poem about Leigh's holiday plans

Leigh Poem 1