Artist Pablo Picasso once wrote, “Love is the greatest refreshment in life,” and for one service user this Valentine’s Day, it could not be truer. On this international day of love, we want to share with you a beautiful and honest story from one of our Gunnersbury Avenue clients. But as with all love stories, this tale of two hearts begins with trials and tribulations, and hardships designed to test our protagonist John’s courage…
Our story starts at Gunnersbury Avenue, a wonderous place that supports men and women from across the land with a range of conditions including epilepsy, anxiety, mental health, challenging behaviours and autism. But when John first arrived at his new home, he struggled to settle – little did he know, his happy ever after was just around the corner!
“When I first came to Active Care Group, I was unruly, rude to the staff and had what some people would call a chip on my shoulder. I thought I could take on the world, but I couldn’t.”
And that is where the fairy godmothers, genies and other heroical characters of our story enter. Working closely with John, Gareth and his team at Gunnersbury Avenue made sure he received the best care possible and supported him to find his strength, developing the skills he needed to be independent.
“Gareth and his team came to my rescue, talked about what was wrong and started me on a course that has been like a rollercoaster. Chatting and helping me when all my strength had gone – they were always there. My carers were passionate about their work and always there to help, even if it was just to have a chat, they never judged me. As I was improving and gaining more independence, my story changed.”
As John regained his strength, he decided that it was time to find the princess of his dreams. He ventured into the wonderful world of online dating where he met Valerie.
“I started dating, trying to find the woman of my dreams – someone who I could grow old and start a family with. Just by luck I went on to a dating site and met Valerie. It’s like when people say that you know when you fallen for the right person. Valerie and I get each other, the same things make us laugh and cry, and we know how to help each other in the moments where you need to talk about your feelings.”
But John and Valerie’s story is only just beginning. In a bittersweet turn of events, John’s incredible progress means that he will soon be leaving Gunnersbury Avenue in pursuit of his happy ever after with Valerie. Whilst the fantastic team that have supported John will be sorry to see him go, they are beyond proud to have helped yet another person overcome their struggles, find their strength and successfully transition back into the community.
Service Manager, Gareth said of John’s imminent departure, “This is a very sad but proud day for us. We have successfully helped another one of our people transition back into the community and we wish him all the best.”
John’s next adventure awaits him but before he goes, he had one final message for those that helped him and those that might be considering accessing support:
“I’d like to say thank you to Gareth and all of the Active Care Group staff – thank you for helping me become the man I am today, and for helping me move on and in with Valerie my now long-term partner.”
Gunnersbury Avenue is a Headway approved service following a review in September 2020 when it was awarded Adequate-Good in 1 domain, Good in 3 domains and Good-Excellent in 1 domain.
Working closely with service users and local authorities we ensure that every person at Gunnersbury Avenue receives the best care possible and is supported to develop core skills and be more independent. It’s important to us to promote a homely atmosphere, with quality care at the heart of what we do.
Active Care Group is proud to be able to support clients like John to live their best lives – Active Care, it’s what we do, how we work and why we exist.