Ed spent most of the summer of 2017 in a log cabin at the bottom of his parents’ garden. The windows were shut. The blinds were drawn. On the rare occasions Ed did leave the cabin, he wore ear defenders to block out any noise.
Ed’s older sisters had both left home and Ed’s sense of loss manifested itself in extreme anxiety and frustration. His parents built him a log cabin in the garden, hoping it would give him independence and a safe space. It didn’t quite work out as they’d planned. “He refused to come out,” says Sharon, Ed’s mum. “For nearly three years he was a recluse.”
One day, Ed took his parents by surprise. “He said, ‘Why am I still here when Stacey and Leanne have left?’” Sharon remembers.
The family started looking for supported accommodation, but it wasn’t easy. After the first place did not work out, Sharon thought that Ed would be put off by the idea, but when he was offered a bungalow and his own tenancy in Bicester with support, he was delighted.
“When we visited, he had this huge smile,” says Sharon. “He was opening all the cupboards and asking, ‘Is this all mine?’”
Sharon vividly remembers the first time she visited her son in his new home. “Straightaway he said, ‘Hello Mum, do you want a tea?’ It was lovely, as in the log cabin he never wanted to do anything.”
The support team has helped Ed organise his week around the things he loves doing. They encouraged him to think about what skills he wanted to develop and together they decided to focus on his passion for woodwork.
They found a furniture restoration class on Fridays, and it’s really given Ed a chance to shine.
He’s a long way from the Ed in ear defenders who rarely left his cabin.
Things have improved for Sharon, too. Before Ed moved out, her life had become increasingly restricted to the house. Today, she can pop out knowing that Ed is getting the right support.
“It’s changed all our lives,” she says. “My daughter Leanne said to me, ‘It’s like having the old Ed back.’