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St Thomas House 

Recently featured on Channel 4 - "Home Free"

St Thomas House is an SSH scheme that provides supported living to 13 residents in Chester. The building was previously used as a benefits office, but was redeveloped into an SSH scheme, comprising 13 self-contained apartments and communal living areas three years after the benefits office had closed down. Civitas acquired the property in March 2018, with Hilldale acting as the Housing Association, providing housing management and maintenance services for the homes. With the majority of tenants in their 20s and early 30s, this scheme provides housing for a relatively young demographic, most of whom have come from family homes or acute needs hospitals.

Resident story – Lisa*

Lisa moved into St Thomas House in 2018, having spent the majority of her life in secure, institutionalised facilities. She began receiving support from 1st Enable roughly four years ago, who in that time have worked with her to improve her confidence and her ability to live a more independent life.

Prior to coming to St Thomas House, Lisa moved from a secure facility into Cotton Hall Farm, a 1st Enable supported living facility that offers some flexibility but within an appropriate environment. It was envisioned by some professionals that Lisa may struggle at Cotton Hall Farm. However, whilst there were some initial challenges, through the Positive Behavioral Support embedded within 1st Enable’s culture, she made excellent progress overall and developed a desire for a more independent life.

From here, Lisa took another step away from the institutionalised settings in which she had grown up. She moved into her own supported living flat within St Thomas House. This has a much bigger social setting and is closer to local amenities.

Lisa’s transition through these care settings have hugely improved her quality of life. She now enjoys a level of independence that would not have seemed possible a few years ago. She even acts as an active ambassador championing the type of home in which she now lives, in the hope that others can benefit from a similar pathway.

On top of the improved quality of life that a move to SSH has provided for Lisa, this transition has also provided significant government cost savings. Lisa’s time in secure institutional care was likely to have cost up to £8,000-£10,000 per week. The costs of being in supported living at St Thomas House are a fraction of that figure, at roughly £1,500 per week.

*Not her real name