"But it’s about turning negatives into positives and by helping other people it’s helping me"

“It’s about supporting people to get the right support, which is why I set up my own business because I’ve got lived experience with the struggles and challenges and I’m still living it.

I’ve had to challenge social work. They want to take away my sleepovers which is something I need for medical reasons but the social worker I’ve been allocated has no interest in knowing me as a person, I’m just a case file. This all came from me asking what I’m legally entitled to ask about my Self Directed Support (SDS) budget.

Probably my biggest challenge was housing, I lived in residential care owned by the British Red Cross. But they took the decision to close it. It was just assumed I’d go back and stay with my dad. As much as I love my dad I didn’t want to go back and stay with him. So, they kept saying ‘well if you don’t go back to Kilbirnie it’ll be a nursing home’. I put up a fight. I gave the story to the BBC and the house I now live in came up the next day.

There are people who didn’t have that voice, people who are still in nursing homes. I knew what to do to get the right support but it’s not easy. Challenges continue while I help other people. But it’s about turning negatives into positives and by helping other people it’s helping me.

My organisation is a Princes Trust supported business and it’s called Your Options Understood. I provide a range of services, so advocacy for people and families who don’t have that voice, I’ll be that voice.

SDS, although it’s a nationwide piece of legislation, each local authority implements it so differently. I’m constantly saying, ‘that’s not what the guidelines say’. That’s the most common issue. SDS is supposed to make things better and in some ways it has, but in other ways there’s still a long way to go.”

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