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Recruitment agency launches fund raising for care home

Thursday, 16th May 2013.

Haverhill’s longest serving recruitment agency 1st Stop Recruitment has announced it will be raising funds for a specialist residential care home which looks after people with learning disabilities as its chosen charity for the year.

Essex Care Consortium in Colchester provide a wide range of specialist residential care and day services for people with learning disabilities aged 18 and above.

It is a charity very close to the heart of 1st Stop Recruitment’s director Lesley Whiting as her 21-year-old son Jamie is a resident there.

When Lesley gave birth to her healthy baby boy in 1992 after a 36-hour labour she had no idea of the struggles that were yet to come for her family and her son.

As a baby Jamie didn’t make the usual noises an infant makes, couldn’t chew, had hearing difficulties and walked before he crawled.

Lesley became increasingly concerned that something was very wrong with her son. Jamie was sent for hospital tests and scans which ruled out autism, cerebral palsey and other conditions and the doctors were left baffled.

For years, Lesley searched for an answer to what was wrong with Jamie while building a career and setting up her Haverhill-based business.

It became a marathon of stressful hospital visits, operations to have grommets fitted so that Jamie’s hearing was improved, tests and holistic treatments to help him - all while being no closer to knowing what was wrong and why it had happened.

As Jamie reached adulthood Lesley realised that by looking after her son at home he was becoming increasingly isolated from others of his own age and she started to search for specialist support to help him.

Essex Care Consortium provided the specialist residential care, skills and resources that Jamie needed to develop and become less reliant on his family.

She knew that the care he would receive would enable Jamie to have a more normal life and she made the heartbreaking decision to move him to residential care.

She said: “It was an awful time. I was torn between my feelings that no one could look after him the way I could and yet I knew that he had a chance with specialist help to be able to have a more normal life as an adult and that they could teach him to feed and bathe himself, becoming more independent. I knew I wouldn’t be around forever and I was concerned that he was 100 per cent reliant upon me.”

Looking back Lesley is so glad she made the decision as Jamie lives in beautiful woodland surroundings, has made new friends and gets the chance to live as independently as he can.

She visits whenever she can and he visits her in Steeple Bumpstead every other weekend when they can enjoy family time.

Two years ago, after considerable research by Nottingham University, Jamie was finally diagnosed with the very rare Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome, increasingly recognised by experts as part of the autism spectrum.

The central difficulty for people with PDA is their avoidance of the everyday demands made by other people, due to their high anxiety levels when they feel that they are not in control.

This year, inspired by Jamie’s story and Lesley’s battle to find out what was wrong with her son, the team at 1st Stop Recruitment have decided to raise funds for the Essex Care Consortium as their chosen charity for the year.

Funds raised will enable the residential care home to replace their broken football table which provides many hours of enjoyment for the residents and create a fund to allow them to go on trips and holidays.

Lesley said: “The residents receive benefits to enable them to get the care they need in Colchester but it doesn’t provide for any small extras such as trips or holidays - things you and I take for granted.

"Whereas we may go away to have a rest or a little sunshine, they only go away for a short time and the change of scenery is vital for their continued development and makes a huge difference to their development.

"Jamie is lucky because he has family who pay for his holidays and little treats. Some of the residents are not so lucky and as a team we want to help them.”

The team’s first fund raising event will be a raffle at an event to unveil their new branding on tomorrow at their office in Jubilee Walk.

The office will be open from 12 noon to 2pm where customers new and old can enjoy a glass of bubbly to celebrate the rebranding and take part in the raffle to raise funds for Essex Care Consortium.

Haverhill Online News

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