We recently spoke with one of our residents, Kyle, who is living at The Oaks, located in Baillieston, Glasgow. The home provides specialist care facilities for residents with mental health difficulties and specialist care needs.
On a sunny summer’s day, we meet in The Oaks’ spacious living room. Situated at the front of the building, with lots of light and space for the home’s many activities, it’s easy to understand why the residents enjoy spending time in here. Sharing his story is resident Kyle, who moved into The Oaks in June 2022.
Since moving into the home, Kyle tells how, with the help of the staff, he has transformed the trajectory of his life. Staff have supported him to detox from methadone and are pleased that he is now completely drug-free. He says: “I feel like the support from The Oaks in the past 12 months has meant that I have completely restarted a new life. I came from quite a troubled background, and I never had security or felt safe. Now, I am happy, I have great friends and a great relationship with my girlfriend, Kayleigh. The staff have built my confidence back up and have helped me look forward to what’s to come.”
The Oaks team has focused on Kyle’s journey of recovery, building his independence and confidence. This has been facilitated through escorted, overnight trips to Paisley and Liverpool to spend time with his girlfriend, Kayleigh. Kyle also loves monthly nights out to The Garage nightclub in Glasgow. The club hosts evenings specifically for adults with additional support needs, and Kyle visits with six other residents from the home, which they all really enjoy.
Julie Stevenson, care home manager at The Oaks says: “Kyle has had lots of ups and downs along his journey, but the difference since he joined us at The Oaks one year ago is like night and day. Kyle has completely turned his life around and now has the freedom to live his life the way he wants to with the full support of our team here. We are so proud that he has managed to detox from methadone with the support of our staff, and it’s clear that drugs are now very, very far from Kyle’s mind.”
As well as changing his own life, Kyle has a positive impact on other residents and staff. Julie explains: “Kyle supports other residents at the home, and he is a shining example to others that are earlier in their journey to give them hope that recovery is possible. By listening and truly understanding what is important to him, staff have also encouraged Kyle to move into one of The Oak’s self-contained flats to live more independently, which is a great step.”
As someone who is transgender and hasn’t always been in a supportive environment, Kyle’s gender identity and the acceptance of this is massively important to him. He tells us: “I find The Oaks a truly inclusive environment, and I’m now in a place where I feel comfortable in my identity. Highlights from the past year include attending Pride Glasgow in both 2022 and 2023 with my friends. It’s Scotland's largest LGBTQIA+ event which attracts thousands of Pride enthusiasts each year. Being able to be part of these days is very important to me.
“I helped to host a party at the home during Pride month. I decorated the home with rainbow flags, and we had a buffet and karaoke night. I’m grateful to the staff who helped me to organise this, as well as being so inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
With support from the team at The Oaks, Kyle has done tremendously well in terms of education and employment and earlier this summer he finished a qualification for employment at Coatbridge College. Kyle has also been involved with Project SEARCH, a local transition programme for young people between 16 and 24 with learning disabilities and additional support needs to provide preparation for employment. This has helped him secure employment with the NHS at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. From August, he will be a key part of the domestic services team and will travel independently via public transport for each shift.
Julie finishes: “Kyle is looking forward to the future, whatever that may bring. When the time is right, we will help Kyle move back into the community, but for now, we love seeing him grow in confidence and watching him achieve many great things – whether that’s in building his relationships or starting his new job. The future is bright for Kyle, and we are so, so proud of him.”