They say everything comes in threes.

And for Martin who is supported in Rochdale, that is certainly the case. Not only has Martin landed his dream job working in a supermarket, followed by securing his own flat; but Martin has also recently announced his engagement to Jodie, also supported in Rochdale.

“At the end of last year, Martin secured a job working in B&M after gaining work experience through AFG’s partnership with Pure Innovations”, said Team Leader Marie Brennan. “Martin has always wanted to work in a shop. Although his Pure Innovations role was temporary and on a voluntary basis, he recognised the importance of this and how it would help him learn new skills and hopefully gain experience to do something similar in the future, which it has.”

Marie continued: Martin has been in Supported Living for 5 years. Prior to this he lived with parents. He first moved into a property with Jason Jones, a fellow River Roch Forum (RRF) member. Jodie moved in with them the year later.

Martin said: “Initially we all had our ups and downs but soon we were all great friends.”

Living independently has always been a goal for Martin so soon he started looking for his own flat.  Martin was lucky enough to find a place in the next street to where he was living. With huge support from his team, Martin moved in on the 20th January 2014. He now receives a few hours of support each day from the team who worked with him at his previous address.

“This arrangement is great for Martin as he wants to live as independently as possible” said Marie.

Following the move into his new flat, Martin shared some exciting news. He had proposed to girlfriend Jodie and she, of course, said ‘yes’!

Marie said: “We were all so delighted for them both. Their romance first blossomed on the night of Rochdale SURF (Service User Representative Forum) elections. Both Jodie and Martin both gave fabulous speeches which saw them elected as members.

Martin said: “We were both really nervous that night. Our relationship developed from a strong friendship which grew when we lived together.  When I moved into my flat, our relationship went from strength to strength; Jodie visits and we go on dates from time to time.”

Martin continued: “My parents are extremely proud of me and both families are really happy for us both too. We’ll be celebrating at an engagement party with all friends, family and people supported across Rochdale quite soon. I plan to officially propose to Jodie that night the company of our friends and family too!”

Marie said: “I am so proud of Martin and everything he has achieved.  I am also really proud of the staff team who have supported Martin to achieve his dreams. The team have worked so hard to support Martin not only with the actual move but also while at Supported Living they supported him to prepare for Independent Living developing his skills and confidence.”

Carol Toner, Community Service Director echoed this: “In knowing Martin and Jodie for 18 months, I am delighted to have witnessed such a natural and deeply moving progression.  Martin has grown into a confident man; a man that has been involved in feeding back to commissioners on what good support looks like, delivering confident well-structured and factual feedback.  Martin has proven he can hold down an important job and make a great contribution to his local community.”

“Martin is testament to all that is good about adult social work, a true story of great success.  I believe stories such as this need to be shared across AFG and beyond as this is “making it real” and “a life like any other” in action.  With a great team of forward thinking solution focussed Support Workers and transformational leadership in his Team Leader, Martin has flourished and learnt skills that will serve him well in life.”

“I hope Martin and Jodie will live a happy and fulfilled life together and I am immensely proud to have witnessed this developing story.”