Hi there! My name is Jessica Ireland, but I prefer to be known as Jess. I have left sided hemiplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy, which affects one side of my body. This means that I am unable to use my left arm and I walk with a limp.  I am 23 years old and I have lived at Coopers Chase with the support of Enham Trust for just under two years.

I first heard about Enham Trust when I was studying at Treloar’s College, this was through my social worker. However, I felt at the time it was not the best move for me and thought that it was too far away from my home town in Southampton. How wrong could I have been!

After Treloar’s college, I went to live with my grandparents until I moved to Coopers Chase. When I first came here everything was perfect. I thought that I was on cloud nine and I had moved into a place that was perfect for me. But then unfortunately, it started to go a little bit wrong. I was starting to wake staff up at night and calling ambulances quite a lot which wasn’t good and certainly was not promoting my independence.  

However, with the support I received from the staff at Coopers Chase they helped me to address why I was doing these things, and with their help things started to look up. It was then that I started to do an Access to Social Science course at Andover College; I was starting to make friends and enjoy life again. Although the course was difficult and there were stresses and tears along the way, it was fun and enjoyable, and I got a qualification at the end of it!

With college well underway and the ambulance calling stopped, the staff at Coopers where able to work with me on skills to help me for when I move on. I started to cook my own meals, learning how to not only use the hob and the oven but how to prepare a meal and cook from scratch. Although it was hard to fit all this in as well as juggling doing college work, and going home to watch the football (Southampton FC), somehow with the help of the Enham Trust staff I managed to fit it in.

Although there are some areas that I do still struggle with such as keeping my room tidy and aspects of personal care, I feel that in the not so long future I will with the help of the staff at Enham Trust be able to tackle the challenge and accomplish these tasks.

I feel that I am now ready for the next chapter of my life, which I am pleased to announce will be a place at Winchester University to study Childhood, Youth and Community Studies, which is a BA honours degree. I will be staying in student halls and having very minimal care coming in to support me. I am moving out on the 7th September 2018 and I would like to thank all the support staff here at Coopers Chase for the support they have given me over my period of time here.