Leanne’s story

A smiling woman with long hair wearing glasses

Leanne has been using Independent Lives services since 2022. She lives in Crawley with her daughter.

Life has been a struggle for us for a long time. Aside from living with my impairments, my daughter and I escaped domestic abuse and lived in one room for three years.

When we arrived in Sussex, we didn’t know anyone, so my daughter was assessed to be my carer while support was put in place for me. It’s taken a lot for us to get where we are now.

Leanne waited two years to initially get six hours a week of PA support.

It was scary to have to wait that long. I have autism and I’ve been in and out of mental health hospitals and I struggle quite a lot.

Independent Lives has been a godsend really. There’s always someone on the end of the line whenever I call, and they’re incredibly supportive throughout the entire process, I’d be lost without them.

With Independent Lives support, Leanne was able to employ someone who met her needs.

I employed three PAs before I found the right one, and it took time.

It really is terrifying when you’ve not employed before, you’ve got someone new coming into your life that you need to trust, so the support the advisers provide is critical to making sure the process works.

But my PA is lovely, she’s like a dream. My hours have also just been increased because my daughter is going to university, so it’ll make a big difference.

Because my PA can come out into the community because of those extra hours, it finally feels like I’m living now.

It also takes the pressure off my daughter and my other kids. Even though they are older and they don’t live with me, they still worry about me, so now that is one less thing for them to worry about.

Even though Leanne found PA employment difficult at times, support from her adviser kept things on the right track.

My main adviser was Nuwani, and she was outstanding. I miss her! I know it’s her job, but she stuck with me throughout the entire process. Without her guiding me through it, being so patient and having the skill of knowing what to look for in a good PA is invaluable.

She kept telling me to not give up and constantly reassured me that I would find a PA that was right for me, and she was correct. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Leanne now receives personalised support from her PA daily, which has had a huge impact on her life.

My PA does so much for me, I don’t even know where to start. She’s supported me with my admin, she helped me to apply for funding to turn my bedroom into a sensory room, and she’s helped me to enrol into a local art course, which is wonderful.

She also helps with the practical things like banking and gets me out of the house, so I don’t stay in inside all day in my pyjamas hiding from people.

Because she keeps consistent hours, I know she’s coming, so I’m up and ready to face the day. Even if she only comes for three hours, I know I’ve done something in those three hours that’s purposeful.

Receiving the extra hours in funding has honestly been like winning the lottery. The support has kept me out of hospital for a year, which is massive for me.

With her newfound confidence and support, Leanne is ready to look forward to what the future brings.

I’m finally ready to work on building my confidence and having a better quality of life, maybe even progress onto some voluntary work and get myself out there a little bit more. I want to keep growing as a person.