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Charlotte's Story

When Charlotte, who has both complex health needs and learning disabilities, left college her family found that there were very limited options available for her future. Due to her complex needs, Charlotte’s only choice locally at the time was a day centre providing activities and care primarily for the elderly and people with dementia.

 

At 21, this was not the life Charlotte and her family had envisioned; Charlotte was very clear what she wanted from her life and that definitely didn’t involve attending a day service with people 4 times her age. She wanted a life like everyone else; going shopping and to the cinema, on holidays and days out, socialising with her friends, as well as continuing to learn, finding new things to try and being as independent as possible.

It was this passion for life and all that it has to offer which inspired Charlotte’s family to launch Engage Norfolk; a service that could support people with disabilities and additional needs to have greater choice and control to live their lives whilst still receiving the expert, professional care necessary to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

 

Engage Norfolk was founded on the principles of social inclusion, personal choice, community integration, and active support. Again Charlotte played a big part in this, she was clear that she didn’t want someone else bossing her around and telling her how to live her life, she was an adult and wanted to be treated as such; she wanted the control to decide what she wanted to do and how it was going to be done. This meant Engage Norfolk needed to be set up in a way that encouraged a collaborative approach to services, a positive attitude to risk taking, and a focus on ‘support’ rather than the traditional models of ‘care’, whilst all the time ensuring that the sometimes complex needs of the individual are met to the highest standards.

 

This was no easy task as decades of established care practice needed to be reviewed and a new model developed. Luckily, this was something Charlotte’s mother, a Health and Social Care lecturer, had dreamt of doing for some time and when the opportunity finally presented itself she threw herself in to it whole heartedly. The result is a company that can provide its Service Users with the services they want, when they need them, with a focus on providing just the right amount of support to facilitate the restoration, development and maintenance of personal independence.

 

Since its launch in 2012 Engage Norfolk has grown in both size and the scope of its services, and now supports individuals with a wide range of care needs to be as independent as possible, with a particular specialism in supporting service users whose specialist or complex needs can mean that traditional services have failed or are just not suitable.

Engage Norfolk was born