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Humility and Compassion

Humility and Compassion

Tuesday April 9

 

In a series celebrating the 150th anniversary year of social care in the Church of Scotland, we look at the work of The Bungalow, a CrossReach facility in Stonehaven.


How do you provide for teenagers with complex needs, when children’s services are no longer appropriate for them but nothing exists locally to cater for them as adults?

In the case of the manager of a home for disabled children in Stonehaven, a small town 15 miles down the coast from Aberdeen, the answer was simply to build a new facility. Her vision was to become one of CrossReach's success stories.

The Bungalow was constructed around 1995 in the grounds of Keith Lodge, a residential and respite home for children with learning disabilities and complex needs operated by what was then called the Church of Scotland’s Board of Social Responsibility.

It was built to provide accommodation for four people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, who had been cared for at Keith Lodge since they were infants, but couldn’t legally stay once they had reached the age of 18.

The project was the inspiration of the manager at the time, Betty Taylor, who had tried unsuccessfully to find suitable alternative accommodation for the service users locally.

It provided the four people with a new home, each with their own bedroom, specially adapted bathrooms – one with a jacuzzi – and bright and cheerful communal areas as well as an attractive and accessible garden area.

Keith Lodge was closed in 2006, but The Bungalow survived to become a stand-alone service.  In 2012, a legacy from a Dr Dixon of Dundee enabled the house to be upgraded and extended, so it could look after a fifth resident.

The service users all have profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex health needs, are wheelchair users and have non-verbal communication.

The service follows a social model of care and concentrates on making a positive difference to the lives of the people who live there as well as their extended families.

Life at The Bungalow is never dull, and over the past few years the service has made strenuous efforts to promote the inclusion of the service users in the local community,  including organising and delivering a range of small and larger fundraising events.

This fundraising has helped provide an annual holiday for the service users to Badaguish Outdoor Centre in Aviemore, where they can be supported to participate in activities that are innovative and challenging for individuals with such profound disabilities, such as orienteering and canoeing.

This holiday has provided what service manager Kathleen Keith describes as a ‘heartfelt and moving’ memory: “We made contact with an outdoor activity provider, Active Spirit, who enabled us to get our service users out of their wheelchairs and onto canoes for the first time. The emotion as we set sail on to Loch Morlich, with the image of the ‘abandoned’ wheelchairs on the beach and the freedom it gave our special young people, is truly engrained on our hearts.”

The dedication of the staff at the Bungalow has been reflected in consistently excellent Care Inspectorate grades and success in the Scottish Care National Care Home Awards.

Kathleen says: ““The staff team want the service to be really good and deserving of recognition in their work within the specialist field of supporting individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex health needs.

“In 2013 we won the award for Specialist Adult Care and in 2018 we won the award for Specialist Service/Unit Award.

“The management team felt privileged to represent their colleagues in the service and put CrossReach in the spotlight at the award ceremonies, and were pleased and honoured that the work we do in Christ’s name is recognised for making a positive impact to individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

“The CrossReach Ethos Statement underpins the way we approach the work we deliver at The Bungalow, understanding as receivers ourselves of God’s unconditional love and grace, we aspire to work with our vulnerable service user group in a spirit of humility and compassion, valuing each one for their individual worth and ensuring they have the opportunity to lead full and meaningful lives.”


CrossReach celebrates 150 years of social care 
The Bungalow website

This feature first appeared in April's Life and Work. Download or subscribe here.