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Familiarity and community

Familiarity and community are important to Carole. When Aurora Options began supporting her in 2005 she had lived her whole life until that point in the Catford/Brockley area of South East London.

Carole’s family live in the area too. We recognised the importance of supporting her to maintain and develop connections in her community. A big part of that for Carole is going to church.

Assessing people’s cultural needs and supporting people to follow their religion if they have one is an integral part of our work.

In Carole’s case we established that she was baptised as a baby at St Andrew’s United Reform Church, in Brockley, and had worshipped there throughout her life, along with her family.

Ever since we began working with her we have supported Carole to attend and take part in church each week. This involves reminding Carole that it is Sunday, and supporting her to choose bright, smart clothes, as she likes to dress well.

We make sure a support worker is available to go to church with Carole, as she has a visual impairment and needs a little help to join in.

Once at church we prompt Carole to speak to people she has known for many years, join in with the hymn singing, and pass the offertory basket around.

An elder at the church says:

“The church loves having Carole – she is very friendly and always beautifully dressed.”

Carole’s father is a keen member of the church too. He and Carole’s sister Ethel visit her every Saturday. They often go out for a meal, or go shopping together.

Ethel says:

"…Carole is a sociable person and her weekly cup of tea and biscuits after the church service gives her time to meet and greet a number of the congregation who have know her for many years.  This vital link to the church community is most important to both Carole and our family and we are all very proud that she regularly collects the church offering, a very prestigious role to have in church, even when we were growing up.”

Staff have helped Carole develop new social opportunities and friendships by using the church as a springboard. 

Carole’s speech is limited, so we developed a communication passport to help her communicate.

This is a booklet that explains what is important to Carole, using simple language and photos that she recognises.

It is a good ice-breaker, helping people get to know Carole when they first meet her, and also helps Carole say what she wants to do.

For example, when a new member of staff comes to work with Carole she can introduce herself and talk about her likes, dislikes, interests and family life by pointing a pictures in the book, each of which has a simple explanatory caption.