Catherine Fairclough

November 4, 2015 Catherine Fairclough

Having been diagnosed with schizophrenia aged 18, 49-year-old Catherine Fairclough from Preston, has also suffered from a personality disorder for the past five years.

After a brief stay at Crystal Hall Residential and Nursing Home in Goosnargh, Preston turned into a six month stint, an introduction to home care specialist, Community Life Choices, completely turned Catherine’s life around.

“I was only meant to be with Crystal Hall for three weeks but couldn’t get the funding to get placed, so I was stuck there longer,” said Catherine.

“My care coordinator at the time got me involved with Community Life Choices and their care manger, Chantel O’Reilly, came to see me. I asked her lots of questions and she also wanted to know all about me so she could support me both within and outside my home.

“I’ve only been with Community Life Choices for six months but it’s completely changed how I live. The care at Crystal Hall was so different and the people there gave me lots of problems. I wasn’t sleeping in my own bed and wasn’t showering very often, but now with the amazing support of my staff, I’m going to bed most nights, taking my medication and doing things in the community.

“With their help I’m now living in my flat on my own and I’ve learnt to become more independent. They’ve given me so much confidence and I’m willing to socialise with people a lot better than before.”

Catherine and her carer, Heather Rowlands, were in Blackpool on a day trip when we caught up and she told us how she’ll be celebrating her 50th birthday with a meal out with her care team.
As her main carer, Heather supports Catherine almost every day. Having joined Community Life Choices at the same time as Catherine began receiving support; it was the first relationship the pair formed.

Heather said: “I’ve worked in care for more than a decade, first with children, then adults, the elderly and eventually moving into mental health around six years ago. I’ve plenty of experience on top of this having assisted family and friends with mental health conditions over the years.

“Mental health is still a taboo subject to many but it’s come into the spotlight more recently. It had a massive social stigma years ago where no one openly discussed mental health and if you did suffer a condition, then it was almost seen as a bad thing and something to be ashamed of.

“Catherine was my first service user at Community Live Choices and it’s my job to put her needs first. Whatever goals she sets, I will support her to achieve these. Change doesn’t happen overnight and I’ll be here throughout her journey, regardless of how long it takes.”

Catherine concluded: “I would definitely recommend Community Life Choices to other people. I want to thank them for all they’ve done and for sticking by me through the good and bad. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

©2015 Community Life Choices