Congratulations to our first graduate from Hembrigg Park!

22nd Sep 2017

The Heathcotes ethos and approach to care are focused on helping our service users to complete a transition into a more independent setting. It’s a cause for celebration for the whole Group when they achieve this and earlier this month we were all very proud when AD graduated from our specialist personality disorder service and moved into a self-contained apartment.  

Just over a year ago AD was living in a Low Secure Hospital where she had been for many years. She had been through some very difficult times and found it hard to trust others and maintain close and stable relationships. In August 2016, AD became the first service user to move into Hembrigg Park, our specialist personality disorder treatment service that supports individuals with Emotional Unstable Personality Disorders and Mild Learning Disabilities. AD’s journey towards independence over the last year has been assisted by Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) programme with a weekly skills group, weekly individual therapy and support in practicing skills through coaching from her individual therapist and Team Leader. The staff at Hembrigg Park all undertake specialist training in working with Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder and training in the skills learned in DBT to support this in the residential setting.


AD’s therapy and social experiences at Hembrigg Park have been hugely positive. Having settled well and made new friends, she has learned a great deal about her emotions and how to recognise, express and regulate them. AD has learned to manage conflict and developed more certainty about expressing what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She has enjoyed being part of a group, learning new skills and making time for regular ball games, Mindfulness exercises, relaxation and special days out, including a visit to the set of Emmerdale (where she is pictured above, pulling a pint at the famous Woolpack bar!). AD now uses daily Mindful colouring, Mindful walking, people watching and distraction skills to help her to manage her emotions better. Daily activities of cooking, cleaning, walks to Morley, baking (her favourite!) and an increase in unescorted leave have enabled AD to develop her independence. By the time she was ready to move out, AD had almost unlimited unescorted leave and enjoyed shopping, going to bingo and sitting in the town centre to relax with a bit of people watching.


AD arrives at her new flat!

AD has learned to value herself and has formed strong relationships with other people at Hembrigg Park and at other Heathcotes services. Heathcotes staff described AD as more confident, more emotionally aware and also a little mischievous! She certainly left an impression on everyone involved in the service. 

Sarah Chappell, Hembrigg Park Support Worker, reflected on AD’s journey:  “I can remember how anxious and reclusive AD was at first but she began to blossom, started baking again and became the joker of the home! I will miss you AD, but you need to know how proud we all are. You have been a pleasure to support. All the best.”

Peter Burbidge, Heathcotes’ Lead Clinical Psychologist, added: “AD has seen the service grow around her and she has grown with the service. She has worked really hard throughout the last year and she is ready to move on to the next stage of her recovery.”


Two service users were also keen to express their affection:

FH said: “I have known AD a long time, even before Hembrigg Park. I have had some fun times with AD and we have done lots of activities together. I will miss you, AD.”

ML said:  “I love AD, she is my friend. We colour and chat and have a laugh together. We laughed at Pete in group. Keep in touch!”

Having moved into one of Heathcotes’ Independent Supported Living apartments in Wakefield, AD has now started an exciting new chapter in her life. On leaving Hembrigg Park she had some kind words to say about our services:

“I have been really happy here, it’s been the best place I’ve ever been to.”

That was very pleasing to hear, but we’re confident that she will be even happier in her new independent life – congratulations and well done, AD!


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