New Outlooks is a care and support service run by Avante Care & Support, which provides support for adults with learning difficulties to live independent lives. Robert Shufflebotham has been a client of New Outlooks for over 10 years, and seven months ago was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
Tracy Moss (Keyworker) and the New Outlooks team invited me along to spend some time with Robert and his colleagues. I wanted to have a better understanding of the support that our Keyworkers provide for our clients at New Outlooks. So, on a Tuesday morning we all met at the Eco Shed in Sittingbourne run by Richard Carrier, a project within the Skillnet Group CIC which believes everyone should work together equally within the community.
Tracy has worked at New Outlooks for over 12 years and during this time has supported Robert for over 6 years introducing him to the Eco Shed project which he thoroughly enjoys.
Robert attends the Eco Shed every Tuesday with Tracy’s support and has clearly gained so much in the two years he has been attending. Robert explained to me that he likes to be out as much as possible rather than staying indoors at home. Robert is not letting his recent diagnosis stand in the way of life for him.
Robert was keen to show me what he had made which included a bird box, pencil box and bird feeder. Everything that Robert and his colleagues make goes on to be sold at various different outlets across Kent, with the profit from the sales going back into the service to buy much needed materials such as wood and paint.
Projects like the Eco Shed have encouraged Robert to develop his carpentry skills and integrate with new people and make new friends.
‘I really enjoy coming here as it feels like I have a job’ said Robert on a couple of occasions and I couldn’t help but agree with him. Everyone that attends Eco Shed has a real sense of purpose for being there, an important role within the project. Health and safety responsibilities are given out at the beginning of the session too with Robert often choosing Fire Warden as his responsibility. ‘I’ve held a few fire drills since attending this project,’ Robert explained to me.
Throughout the morning Robert and I chatted about his life before using New Outlooks, he shared with me that he was born in Chatham and has lived in Sittingbourne all his life, now living with his brother Clifford. Previously he lived a short while in residential care but it didn’t suit him and he soon asked if he could move out. Robert struck me as an active man who doesn’t sit still for long, with a positive attitude and he is keen to be involved in whatever activity is available.
New Outlooks supports its clients to live as independently as possible within their local community. The service works in a flexible person-centred way to support individual’s to achieve their desired outcomes. For more information on New Outlooks please call 01622 351166.
Thank you Robert and Tracey for taking the time to spend with me this morning, it was great to meet with you both and spend some time learning about the New Outlooks service.