Learning disability charity Brandon Trust freed Thornbury woman from a life in institutions

Support worker Anne Sheppard with Thornbury's Susan Grant

Support worker Anne Sheppard with Thornbury's Susan Grant

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A THORNBURY woman has told how a Bristol charity has helped her live a full life with her learning disability.

Susan Grant is one of 20 people featured in an exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Brandon Trust.

After spending almost 42 institutionalised in long stay hospital Stoke Park, Mrs Grant was finally able to move into her own home, thanks to the support of the charity.

The 62-year-old has lived with her late husband Colin and continues to be supported to lead her own independent life.

She said she had no choice to live in the hospital and would never want to go back.

Support worker Anne Sheppard, who worked with Mrs Grant both at Stoke Park and now in her own home, said she could understand the frustrations of her life in the institution

“Now, she sorts everything out herself in her life,” she said. “She has got choice now – it means everything and is the most important thing she has got.”

Brandon Trust supports some 1,200 people across the South of England. Its work first began when the closure of long-stay hospital institutions like Stoke Park were closed, transferring learning disability services from the NHS to community care.

To celebrate the way the care landscape has changed over the past 20 years, Brandon Trust is holding a free photography exhibition at the Watershed in Bristol from Wednesday, April 16 to Monday, April 21.

Twenty details the real, personal, success stories of independence, showing people finding employment, education and happiness – and crucially with the freedom to make their own choices.

Event organiser Matt Boyle said: “This has been a really exciting project to work on because those involved have some truly powerful stories, which I think are important to share with the public.”

For more information on Twenty and Brandon Trust visit www.brandontrust.org.

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