Giving Martin the keys to open up his world

Anxiety kept Martin from stepping outside of his home for over a decade. When he moved to his new home with Sense, Martin’s team did everything they could to support him and reignite his zest for life. His sister, Audrey, reflects on Martin’s incredible journey.

Talking about my brother today, I’m describing a very different person to the one he’d become in his previous home. During his time there, Martin’s world shrunk; he didn’t go out, didn’t really have hobbies and he didn’t seem to want to see people. We knew he wasn’t himself.

Martin’s always been a naturally cheerful person. He’s musical too – like today, you can hear him singing to himself around the house! And in his car, too, he loves having the radio on when he’s out and about.

Visual transcript of Martin’s video

Martin’s past experiences

Before Sense, outings in a car — or even outside of his home — had stopped being an option. We can’t be sure of what happened to make him withdraw so much. We believe that he had a frightening experience when someone set a firework off near Martin in a previous home. It upset him so much that he stopped going out. For years he wouldn’t even open a window.

We’d go to visit and always find him sitting indoors. He’d just wander around from room to room. There wasn’t really anything going on to engage him, not when we went at least. It seemed the staff there were struggling to support him.

Martin standing in his front room, listening to music playing on the radio.

There were a lot of meetings between us and social services, who then arranged to meet with people from Sense. We all decided that the best thing for Martin was to move. His quality of life just wasn’t there. He wasn’t speaking much and had developed more challenging behaviours.

The move was definitely the right thing for Martin. His quality of life now has shot up with Sense.

We’re all excited for Martin’s future

Giving Martin his own home has been brilliant, a huge step for his independence and happiness. He gets a lot from being able to make his own tea, tidy up after himself and run his own home, all with the support he needs. I know the team have put in a lot of work to slowly give Martin opportunities and confidence to do new things. They know him really well now.

Martin and his support worker, Sobiah, walking home after stepping out to enjoy the sun.

When mum and I got the call to say Martin had been going on trips outside, we were so proud. It took many, many months of work for him to be able to go past the end of his drive, so it was a really big deal.

It started with small steps; opening the windows and garden doors; stepping out to feel the grass under his feet for the first time in over a decade; venturing to the end of his road; and then, months later, even going to his local shop.

Now, Martin’s just been away on his first holiday! His Sense team arranged to take him to Sherwood Forest for a long weekend and seemed to do really well. He asked to go out every morning, he was loving the sounds of nature all around him.

Sense send us updates on Martin’s progress all the time. Over the last few years, Martin’s been bowling, he’s been to Christmas pantos, he’s been out to restaurants – none of this was part of his life before.

What’s next for Martin? Well, I know his team have started planning a trip to the beach! So, we’re excited to see how that goes. He’ll also be coming to his mum’s for dinner soon – it’s been great to feel like our connection with Martin is growing stronger now that he’s in a better place.