Jimmy and Barbara first met at St Albans Social Club back in 1987. They live happily in their own flat in Blackburn. Barbara has a learning disability, struggles with arthritis, is diabetic and is in remission from cancer having gone through treatment last year. Barbara is very positive and sociable person who enjoys meeting and helping people. Jimmy, was a baker and now retired, has taken a keen interest in street photography. A member of Blackburn Camera Club, Jimmy travels near and far to take photographs and learn about local history and places. The couple take care of each other and live a happy and independent life together.

Since 2012, the couple have used Care Network’s Safe Trader Scheme. Barbara first came to Care Network Hub in 2016 following an old friend recommending some of the regular social groups and activities.

Social inclusion at Care Network Hub: When Barbara first came to Care Network Hub she explained that she wanted to make some new friends and get involved with something where she could help others. In response to Barbara’s enquiry and over the next twelve months Barbara has thrown herself into life at Care Network and regularly tells our team enthusiastically how much she loves what we have done for her. Barbara is now a regular at:

  • Resolve, Disability Peer Support and Action Group: Barbara initially started to attend Resolve on a Wednesday afternoon and really enjoyed it. She’s now volunteering to help clean up after the group.
  • Crafty Distraction: Barbara was one of the first to step forward and get involved when the craft group started in January.
  • Relax and chat: Barbara attends the Friday afternoon group, and now helps tidy up when everyone leaves.
  • This is IT: To improve Barbara’s confidence with computers.

‘I used to go to gateway club for disabled people. Care Network Hub has given me a lot of confidence, I’m doing a lot better. I was nervous when I came, I’m glad I’ve come. I’m happy to give up my time to help you’.

Being heard and taking action at Learning Disability Partnership Board: Barbara attends the partnership board meetings and makes sure her voice is heard on the matters that are important to her. She has stepped up to volunteer as co-chair at the bi-monthly partnership board meetings. She makes sure that people are listening to the views of the Learning Disability community. ‘I enjoy going there and listening to what other people say’

Safe Trader Scheme for independence at home: Jimmy takes care of all the jobs that need doing around the home. Over the years they’ve used Care Network’s quality-assured safe, local traders to do work at home. Electricians, plumbers, domestic appliance servicing, tilers, joiners and most recently someone to repair their TV. When the couple were struggling to relight the boiler, one of our Care Network plumbers popped in the following day while he was out and about. The businesses, many who are sole traders go over and above to help our customers when they can. Jimmy says ‘They do a good job and it’s easy to get help’.

Healthy lifestyle changes: Barbara said she wanted to improve her physical health, so registered with The Wellbeing Service and regularly sees her health trainer. Barbara also goes to Age UK seated exercise class. At her last health check Barbara was told that her muscle mass had improved a lot.

It’s near to where I live. I’ve got on well with people I’ve met and made new friends. I’m a lot more confident, I’ll go into cafes and look around shops on my own now, I couldn’t do that before. If there’s anything I need, when I’m here [Care Network Hub] I’ll mention it and get some help. I am a lot happier. You lot [Care Network] do a good job.