Meeting the people at York House – What Danny learnt from work experience

During July, Danny Kuhrt has joined Livability for a week of work experience. Working with The Communications and Campaigns Team, Danny’s first day saw him go to Livability York House for a ‘Share Your Story’ workshop with some of the people that the charity supports. In his own words, Danny describes his experiences and what he’s learnt.

An early start to Ossett

My first day of work experience, getting out of school for an easy week, and they get me to wake up at 5:30 and get on a train to Yorkshire. Do not work for Livability! I was off to Livability York House, a home for 20 disabled adults, some with complex needs. Many of them need constant care, and a large portion struggle to communicate verbally. I was there, along with a photographer and two of the communication team at Livability, to document stories and take photos of the amazing work that goes on in Livability York House, Ossett.

When we first got there, we went out to a local charity shop with one of the residents and a carer, to see some art she had done. She had completed jigsaws that the shopkeeper had cut up and stuck on dresses – the end result was a beautiful piece of clothing that the whole town could see. Seeing how happy this lady was at how her contribution had made was incredible. She described how Livability had helped her out of her wheelchair and she could now go across town, to the pub and also to a group at the community centre. It was truly inspiring. In a small action – supporting a disabled lady put together jigsaws for you – so much happiness and meaning had been created.

Then back to Livability York House. We were there to run a workshop, where all the residents talked about what added up to a better life for them, and what took away from that. It was a long process, with many unable to speak properly or communicate. One man wrote down his comments (on how meeting Carol Vorderman would improve his life), while many needed to simply answer yes or no with gestures. It was a fascinating workshop.

What the workshop taught me

A long list was created of how their lives had and could be improved. The main things I took away were that:

  • Livability has made a huge difference. The residents made it clear in the workshop that people you can trust and independence were massive needs for these people. Livability is providing this nationwide, through professional care, dedication and genuine concern for the lives of the disabled.
  • Disabled people often face prejudice or lack of understanding – but they are just like us. A bell went off in the session, and a man said “That rings a bell.” This small joke got the whole room, staff and residents, really laughing. It was a real community, full of happiness and friendship, despite the pain many there had been through. It struck me that I had never really talked to a disabled person with complex needs before, but I realised how similar they are to everyone else, in their wants, thoughts and personalities. They are very vulnerable however, and Livability York House is caring for them with love and compassion.

We spent the rest of the day talking to the residents, and photographing one man at his gardening project for the town. Again, little things that people had done, like supporting a disabled person to help out or having a chat, seemed to have made big differences in these people’s lives.

What difference does Livability make?

Without Livability, these people would be isolated, often in unsuitable care and struggling with loneliness. Livability York House has transformed lives, giving them life changing care and a safe and loving community to live in. This work is so important, and I hope I can visit the amazing staff and residents of York House again in the future.

Want to know more about Livability York House?

Read the story of Ashaq, whose life has been transformed at Livability York House. Read his story here.