What learning disability means to me

As Learning Disabilities week comes to an end we asked customers from Clusters what learning disabilities means to them.

Clusters and Sheffield Thursday Project are two of our LiveWell services. They offer supported accommodation for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. This week some of these customers enjoyed a bowling trip, where we asked them what they thought of their LiveWell service and what living with a learning disability means to them.


What do you enjoy about living at your service?  – “Freedom”

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “Sorting my letters and my bills”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “Reading and writing problems”


What do you enjoy about living at your service? – “having my own space” “helps me when I need it” “having a laugh with the support”

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “going on day trips” “helping me with repairs” “having a laugh”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “Normal”



What do you enjoy about living at your service? – “I like living on my own”

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “talking to her and fixing things”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “I can’t read letter and need some help”


What do you enjoy about living at your service? – “I like living on my own

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “events like bowling and things”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “needing support to do daily tasks”

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You can find out more about Mencaps’ Learning Disabilities Week by following the hashtag #LDWeek15. The chance to raise awareness doesn’t stop here though, Sheffield City Council are hosting several events across the city region. You can find out what is happening where here.

Our LiveWell services cover a range of needs for all kinds of people. Discovery what other LiveWell services we offer by visiting the LiveWell page.

Another Year of Satisfied Customers

Our customers have given the services they received last year the thumbs up in the organisation’s annual satisfaction survey.

Over 700 customers were surveyed across South Yorkshire and asked to rate their customer experience on a range of issues including quality of housing, support provided and how anti-social behaviour is dealt with. Overall satisfaction with the services provided came in at 92%.

91% of customers were satisfied with how anti-social behaviour related issues were dealt with, a record for the organisation and ranked the organisation as one of the highest rated social landlords in the country in this area.

Other highlights from the survey included over 90% of new tenants reporting that they were satisfied with their new home, as well as 95% of customers being satisfied with the support provided by a key worker.

Ian Shepherd, Performance and Central Services manager at SYHA said, “We’re delighted with the results of the survey and it really is a testament to the hard work all of our staff put in.

“We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and it really is at the heart of the work we do. By listening to the feedback we receive we can continue to improve the services we provide and help our customers to settle at home, live well and realise their potential.”

Melissa’s Thank You

It’s always good to hear “thank you” from someone, or to be told that you have made a positive difference to someone. We always encourage feedback from our customers and love to hear how they are getting on if they leave our care.

Our 9 One One project in Sheffield that cares for people with various needs, recently received thank you card from former resident Melissa. Melissa arrived at 9 One One 15 months ago, at the time she led a chaotic lifestyle and was alcohol dependent. She had turned to self-harm on several occasions and suicide attempts were frequent. The emergency services were called out on a regular basis. Once Melissa settled into 9 One One she was able to come out of her shell and engaged with staff and other customers. She progressed so well that she was given the opportunity to move into one of the dispersed flats to help build her self-confidence and independence. During her time with us she gave up drinking, enrolled at college and joined a gym.

You can read Melissa’s thank you card below:




We were even more pleased to hear that she is now settled into her own place with her partner and has a baby on the way. We along with 9 One One would like to wish Melissa the best of luck in the world and we hope she stays in touch to inform us how well she continues to do.

Being told thank you is always nice but knowing that someone is now living a happy and prosperous life is priceless.

If you would like to find out more about 9 One One or other LiveWell services then you can click here or call 9 One One on 0114 275 1644.

Julie’s Story

Julie and her key workers Stacey and Claire came in to tell us about Julie, her story and how along with her key workers we have helped her get to where she it today. This is what she had to say:

Julie: I got my first sewing machine when I was 14. My mom and dad bought it for me that Christmas which is quite a lot and they were not a rich family. It costs them £60 which was a lot of money then.

I never ask because I never expect something as big as that.  They just knew it was the best thing for me because they knew how much I enjoy it. It was also cost effective because I was doing lots of sewing in the house.

How did you feel when you got it?

Julie: I knew it was my gift because I had to go and choose it because they did not know anything about it. It was so exciting and such a magic thing.

I come from Yorkshire mining village and suddenly one day they said, oh come on, lets go to Rotherham, what for? A sewing machine for you for Christmas, and I was like aaahhhh!

8 years later I joined the army and my sister got it and she broke it. Stacey and Claire saw something in my sewing.

Claire: She has done LiveWell banners for us. I worked with her since July 2013. Even from the beginning when we were doing the support plans, it was all about the sewing; it started to come out then.

Julie: What happened is that at night-time to try to alleviate any stress or depression, to try to help myself. I like paying back so this is why I did this hand sew. Doing that banner acted like a spring for everything else. I took two late at night doing the SYHA banner.

Stacey: We try to emphasise that this is something more unique and bespoke rather than the jewellery because she can tailor this and make it really personal.

Regarding the support…

Julie: They are all very sensitive, very clever and I feel very relaxed with them both and I feel that I can trust them and that is the big issue with me trust. That did not come over night you really had to work it because the sort of person who I Am. Now I know when they are coming to my house I leave the door unlocked. During this process I learnt to trust them but as well I gained trust in myself.

I know this is about my sewing but when you see what I have become. If you have seen me 18 months ago, now I am a different person. And I know this might sound really really emotional but I might not been here today if I never had the input and the support. I know I can phone any of these girls from the top of the hat if I say I am really suffering here, but I haven’t needed to do that.

My son has Asperger and he is even worse to me. But now he is just going to university in Manchester. He is 23 and he is studying history and Japanese. He knows that if any of these girls are coming around, then I will be having a good day, he is reassured.

Tell me a bit about your work for the babies

I have made a few things for people like Claire’s grandson.

Claire: My niece had a baby. This just demonstrates what kind of things Julie can do.

Julie: I’ve always known I can sew and it has never been a big deal to me, but you made me realise just what it is for other people, I never saw that.

I did a wedding dress once about 10 or 11 years ago. My friend wanted a wedding dress that was different, like a period dress with layers. I even did a christening dress that became a family heirloom.

I did bunting, after the wedding dress I lost a lot of confidence in me, my abilities and all of that but the bunting was the springboard that indicated the beginning of a journey of improvement.

The journey you are now, the enterprise and business idea, do you want to tell me how it is working now?

It has been challenging but I love it. Some of the fabrics are really expensive but it keeps me going, I want to do so much with so many different fabrics if only I could afford them.

You say this kept you going, and you’ve suffered with depression before. What would you advice people that suffer from depression?

Get support, I had never heard of South Yorkshire Housing other than they provide housing, and when I was referred to the mental health unit, and they offered me a woman to help sort out my paper work amongst other things, that’s how it was described to me.

When Claire got involved, what she’s got me involved with, the things she’s done for me, what she’s supported me with; I would never have moved house or supported my son at university with out her. I would have just been sat at home watching daytime TV not even striving to get a life. She was more than the paper work, people don’t realise what South Yorkshire Housing has to offer.

Julie: They also saw there was a market out there for things like this rather than jewellery. I feel comfortable when I have my gang of support next to me. I called them the coven because they all hang up on me.