A man gives thanks to a supported housing service in Havering for changing his life for the better.
Tom Picknell, from Romford, lived at Lucas Court in Romford for four years before moving into a home of his own earlier this year. He says the supported housing service has given him the hope and confidence to do things he thought he could never achieve.
“Lucas Court has changed my life for the better. Four years ago I was struggling to get by but now I’m looking at career options which I never thought would ever happen,” says 26-year-old Tom.
And its good news for people in the borough as Havering Council has renewed contracts at Lucas Court and The Boundaries for a further five years.
Run by housing association Riverside, both services are based in Romford and have specialist teams on site to provide innovative support for people with mental health related needs. Staff use the principles of Good Help which enables residents to transition and create a place to get people where they want to be while also recognising the uniqueness of each individual and their skills.
The Boundaries has 10 rooms offering high support to people with severe or enduring mental health issues. While Lucas Court has 12 self-contained flats which caters for people with low to medium support needs as a result of mental ill health.
The support provided enables residents to develop skills and confidence to move on to lower supported housing projects or to live independent in a home of their own.
Tom was living with his parents and had mental ill health when he moved to Lucas Court. He added: “I wanted the support there for me but also some independence as well, so Lucas Court was ideal for me. It was nerve-wracking when I first moved there as it was my first time moving out of my parent’s home, but the sense of community made me feel comfortable and I settled in quickly.
“Throughout my journey at Lucas Court I feel I’ve been able to accomplish things I never thought possible. I’ve tried doing new things and began volunteering in the community and never thought I would gain employment, but my support worker put me in touch with a mental health charity who helped me get a part-time job and I worked there for more than two years. The experience has been invaluable, I’ve built up my confidence and it’s helped my mental health.
“I moved out of Lucas Court in June and now live independently but the door is always open if I need the support. It’s nice to know that I have someone there if I need them. Since I left I’ve completed some training and I’m now volunteering at Lucas Court to pass on my experiences on to others living there, and I’m loving it. I want to inspire others that your life can change for the better. Lucas Court has changed my life and I’m eternally grateful for it.”
Both Riverside services work closely with other partner agencies in Havering to provide an holistic package that is tailored to their needs, and break down the stigma associated with mental-ill health.
Pauline Oakley, Riverside’s Area Manager said: “We are delighted to have successfully extended both contracts at Lucas Court and The Boundaries which means we can continue to build on this and provide the support needed to our residents.
“Tom has done exceedingly well and he is testament that people’s lives can change for the better. He is doing really well volunteering with us and helps out with activities for residents such as cooking, shopping, budgeting and computer skills to use the internet and interact with friends. Our aim is to empower residents to move on positively in life and live independently.”