Wirral Area Manager reflects on 21 years at AFG
A Wirral Area Manager who has been working for Alternative Futures Group since we were founded 21 years ago is now helping us celebrate this latest milestone.
Keith Ley is an Area Manager for Wirral and has been helping AFG provide person-centred support to adults with learning and physical disabilities since the charity was set up in 1992.
Keith says the sector has changed but is proud of AFG’s track record, originally enabling people from long stay intuitional hospitals to move back to Wirral and have real independence and choices in their lives.
“I have been with AFG from youth to middle age and have developed with the charity. It has grown considerably since then, but has remained community focused.
“AFG originally had six Adult Care Homes in Wirral. It was an exciting time as many people who lived in long-stay institutions like Greave Hall, Cranage Hall, Royal Lancaster and Calderstones Hospitals came back home to live in Wirral. The impoverished settings people had been living in were ending. People with a learning disability would no longer been seen as requiring nursing care due to their disability. Many had lost contact with family or had limited contact due to the distance from Wirral to the institution.
“At that time, we thought the adult care home model was the bees-knees; people’s lives changed both in terms of more personalised support and increased contact with their family. We had a paternal approach and provided for everything. We quickly realised that this model wasn’t as great as it could be, and could still infringe people’s rights to choose as they did not hold the ‘purse strings’. We wanted to support people to become full citizens in their local community. After three or four years we supported new people to move into non-registered properties with their own tenancies and increased access to funds”
“So seven years ago, we took stock and AFG, commissioners, the people we support and their families worked closely on a project to transform how support was given and where. We redeveloped some properties into individual flats and also sold six Adult Care Homes to a housing association.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help people to flourish and develop. Whether it’s getting someone more involved with their family or as simple as going to the local ‘chippy’ and having the experience of waiting for the first time in a queue or even someone moving into their own home with a friend.
“The future will be both challenging and exciting, but AFG is always looking at how it can improve and provide even more personalised support to people throughout the Wirral and the North West.”