“My father is a new man”: Vibrant Communities causes an increase in pride and openness

“Have I told you about what happened at Turnberry?” Chloe Burrows, Activities Officer, Notting Hill Housing asks me. “One of our resident's daughters came up to me and thanked me for giving her her daddy back!”. Chloe then went on to tell me about the transformation of a resident, "Paul", which began during one of Ladder to the Moon's film shoots. (The persons name has been changed to protect his privacy).

At the start of our Vibrant Communities programme, we recognised "Paul" as being one of the more isolated people in the extra-care scheme. Spending all his time in his flat, no longer interested in his appearance or spending time with others in the scheme, he just wanted to drink.

Staff decided to try again with "Paul" and invited him to be part of their "Some Like it Hot" film shoot. "Paul" agreed to come along and see what it was all about. Encouraged by the playfulness of the staff, he joined in, donning a wig and contributing to our chorus number. To acknowledge the humour and playfulness he bought, and to recognise how much we appreciated him joining us he was awarded an Oscar. Both the involvement and acknowledgement caused a huge shift in "Paul’s" wellbeing.

‘He’s a completely different man since the experience’ - Sara, daughter

Turnberry organised a premier of the film and "Paul" was invited as a VIP/Oscar-winner. "Paul", who had previously not even wanted to shave, was now demanding a suit from his family. He felt he needed to look the part. He now has a photograph of himself at the Premier in his room as a constant reminder. Even more importantly, this shift has lasted, and "Paul" is now taking more pride in his appearance on a daily basis.

This is symbolic of a greater sense of pride. His daughter spoke abouthow he had recently discovered a recording he had made with one of his band's and said, “Oh I must let Chloe hear this”, which she feels would never have happened before the shoot. He is also spending less time in his room and more time with other people living at the scheme. He sees he has a role in events organised by Chloe and wants to be there to support her.

His daughter Sara asked Ladder to the Moon if we could do the programme monthly!

‘I saw so many residents uplifted by it. People who thought “I can’t” now think, “I have and I can!”’ - Sara, daughter