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60 Stories - Russell Easton


Russell Easton

ENABLE Scotland Supporting Me Back to the Future
 

russell eastonI am Russell Easton, a 40 year old from Edinburgh and I’d like to share how ENABLE Scotland has helped me back to focusing on the future after support from a different organisation let me down.

In January 2013 the support was not working so I decided to contact Edinburgh Council to look at direct payments. I eventually met my social worker in April and started the process and they agreed that my current situation was by no way sustainable but encouraged me to work through things until I was fully assessed for direct payments. By the end of May I had to end the contract with the company and complain through the care inspectorate, I was awarded direct payments in July and my complaint was upheld with the care inspectorate. By this stage life had really got on top of me and I started support with a care agency again, when their working practices were also not meeting my needs this support was ended in the January of 2014.

Now receiving direct payments I looked through a number of websites for support, checked out care inspection reports and was inspired by ENABLE Scotland, I saw what their grades had been and that they had worked well with the inspectorate and were receiving much higher grades for the service they provided. This inspired me, I wanted to know more as I really wanted a service that worked well, communicated well and listened to the people they were working with to make a real difference to the service we receive.

I called the ENABLE Scotland Edinburgh office and got more details, I arranged for them to visit, the first visit was with the service manager Elizabeth and team leader Scott in February 2014 they came to my home and discussed the service and what I was looking for, I was able to show them my social work assessment of need and psychologists report.

I was delighted with the way both members interacted with me and assured me that they were able to help during this anxious time, with my agreement Scott arranged to visit with myself 2 weeks later to have a planning day he brought Kat the ACE inclusion coordinator. I was pleasantly surprised that he only had a few blank sheets of paper, headed ‘getting to know you’, ‘what do you want from support’, ‘where have you been’ and ‘your dream’. This blank canvas allowed ENABLE Scotland to design the service in a person centred way.

We set about talking about me and my ambitions, Scott and Kat were so nice and friendly I felt I could talk for hours. I really liked the approach and decided to start in March with ENABLE Scotland with my first personal assistant, while Scott was working through my support plan with my input.

In April I was invited to interview further staff for my service where I met Joe who I interviewed and felt totally at ease with and I requested that he be employed on my service and I’m honoured that Joe accepted the employment.

During the interview process this was my first visit to the office and meeting the full management team, I was surprised; I thought that Elaine Monteith, the area manager was the secretary as her desk is amongst everybody else’s and she was welcoming and I felt at ease, I could make myself a coffee, by now I was getting ENABLE Scotland fever and I had planned where I could pop my slippers for when I was in the office!!! 

The dedicated team had an open office Saturday to let us all see there nice new office at Bankhead Crossway South and it was a chance for me to get to know everybody, by now I was glad id phoned ENABLE Scotland. 

As a newbie I was given a background to ENABLE Scotland who were celebrating their 60th anniversary and I was so privileged to be invited to celebrate with supported people, staff and the big wigs from national office who took great time to ensure they spoke to each one of us who were attending the Lord Provosts celebrations in the City Chambers in honour of ENABLE Scotland’s work over 60 years.

By June I was being supported by 2 personal assistants for 5 hours per week. I was invited to the ACE group where I met a lot of other service users who, along with Kat, made me so welcome I attended the keys to life, a government consultation and an independence debate hosted by MSP’S, ACE members attended and I was privileged to meet Peter Scott, chief executive of ENABLE Scotland and Hugh Savage, inclusion coordinator at these events. Both took a genuine interest in having conversations with everybody present, Peter Scott sat next to us at the hustings when MSP’S were present, I remember feeling not many chief executive’s would actually be on the floor talking to supported people and he even rolled up his sleeves and got stuck in supporting us.  

In June I was asked to talk at a staff meeting abought ACE, I jumped at this as it meant I could hear more about ENABLE. I met lots of staff and the new team coordinator, I asked if we could have a summer BBQ and this happened in July and I had started helping with the Edinburgh newsletter, life was getting better as I became more involved in my support and ENABLE Scotland as an organisation.

As time progressed I decided to speak with Scott re difficulty’s I was experiencing with my first personal assistant that started in March, Scott listened to myself and took on board and reassured me that a solution was possible, again I was invited to interview people and in the meantime Joe’s hours were increased and Scott himself will be supporting me until we find a suitable replacement.

During August Mary from the care inspectorate paid a visit to inspect Edinburgh ENABLE Scotland, she went through a lot of files and talked to us explaining what she was doing and listened to us; she even provided us with an article for our newsletter before giving ENABLE Scotland Edinburgh  all-round 6 grades.

I’m totally delighted to be at the heart of my support, I am listened to and feel like a real person this is totally a refreshing change, I am part of a team and something big and I have a voice, people working with me as a person and listening to me makes me feel great.

I have been involved with several organisations over the time I have required support but ENABLE Scotland is the first long term support organisation that works efficiently at putting the person at the centre and heart of their support while having good practice’s to put things right when situation’s occur. 

ENABLE Scotland is the example to lead the way for the industry as each person being supported is an individual at the heart of the service, whether its senior management or personal assistants, they work along with the supported person, communicating with each other in a positive, relaxed manner; this is what I have found in ENABLE Scotland Edinburgh and I’m honoured and proud to be part of this. 

Having confidence in my support provider is so important to me I have now been able to relax and trust them which has really helped me to start looking at my future again and restart my journey into the future. 

I wish to thank all the team for their dedication and Scott Ferguson who has worked consistently with me from the start and is team leader of my service, his dedication and the consistency of the whole team within ENABLE  Scotland deserves recognition and celebration, well done and thank you. 

Russell Easton  

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