Starts at Home day is an opportunity for housing associations up and down the country to celebrate supported housing and the positive impact it makes on thousands of lives.

We support the campaign and recognise how supported housing helps turn lives around. Offering a place to live with specialist support can make a real difference to people who otherwise wouldn’t have the freedom to live independently.

Darren has a learning disability along with anxiety, paranoia and ODC. He lived in residential care in Clacton on Sea but in June 2018, he moved into Pioneer House in Chelmsford and his life changed.

Pioneer House is a supported housing scheme for adults with varied support needs such as learning disabilities, mental health issues and brain injuries. The scheme is different because it really puts control in the hands of the customers, with each person having a personalised diary and an individualised way of describing what matters most to them.

Darren has found life much easier since moving to Pioneer House. He gets help to do his shopping, banking and medication along with additional support around the home with cooking, ironing and cleaning. But that’s not all, he also gets help from Dave, one of the support workers. They go walking, to the pub and even for their weekly fry-up. Darren said;

“I feel much more relaxed and less stressed here, as well as being able to be much more independent than I used to be. Dave also knows me well enough now to know when I am getting poorly, sometimes before I do.”





Dave has worked in supported housing for 18 years after wanting a more meaningful career. He met a carer who talked to him about the job and it seemed like exactly the kind of thing he was looking for. So, following a brief period volunteering as a carer to get some experience, he soon found a job and has been enjoying it ever since;

“I love my job so much and I get a lot of satisfaction working with Darren. We have loads of fun together but it really helps that because I know him so well I can tell straight away if he’s feeling low or unwell and get help much quicker. Without this kind of support, there would be a lot more pressure on other services like the NHS, mental health services and housing, as people would be getting to crisis point before getting help.”

Along with all the fun stuff, Dave also helps Darren go to regular appointments with his psychiatrist and psychologist and is also helping him track down his long lost family through the Salvation Army. None of which would have been as straightforward if Darren was still living in a much more restrictive residential care setting. As Darren puts it;

“Dave is genuine, helpful, understanding, knowledgeable and kind. I feel so much happier here knowing that I can get the support I like in a home that I love.”

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