Milestones Trust

My family are my support workers

David's story

“My family are my support workers, they look after me, take me out on day trips and help me with everything from shopping to finances - even the basic day-to-day happenings.”


David has been with the Trust since the formation of Milestones in 1986. He was five years old when his adopted parents entrusted him to the staff at Stoke Park Hospital after finding out he had a learning disability. They emigrated to Australia, and left David to be brought up under the care of the nurses.

David moved from Stoke Park to Purdown when he was a young adult, and has fond memories of friends, school and the nurses who cared for him and shaped him into the man he is today. Glenside Museum website explains that “In 1948, the hospital complex was taken over by the National Health Service. Slowly through the 80s and 90s the houses were closed. In 1992 all the remaining learning disability services were absorbed into the new NHS Trust, Phoenix NHS Trust, with the purpose of closing the remaining hospitals and moving into the community.”

Stoke Park was officially closed 31st March 1997, and in preparation for the long stay hospitals closing across Bristol, Milestones Trust was formed.

David moved into one of our very first supported living services on Fishponds Road. He has great relationships with our staff and over the course of 38 years, he had developed long standing friendships with his support workers. Janet has worked with David for over 20 years and Julie, who is now retired, still keeps in touch with him after decades of supporting. David describes his support workers as his family and the closest people to him: “They look after me, take me out on day trips and help me with everything from shopping to finances, even the basic day-to-day happenings.”

David recently became unwell and needed to be admitted to hospital. He was adamant he wanted to return home when he was discharged, despite concern over his best interests, and capacity to return. Helen Sharp, Service Coordinator, said “David stayed in hospital for three weeks where he experienced a few falls whilst walking to the bathroom. He was discharged home, but during his time on Elgar ward we discussed the option of him moving into a care home. He initially said he didn’t want this and wanted to return home, I think he still had memories of when he lived in Stoke Park hospital from age five.”

David fought hard to regain his strength and show that he could manage without 24/7 care. He continued to improve in his abilities and proved everyone wrong. He believed that he could manage independently – and that belief paid off!

Helen has worked with David for 12 years, but due to her management role, 1-1 time with David is now harder to fit in around her hours. She regularly books holiday to spend quality with him, and recently they went to Noah’s Ark Zoo, which is his favourite place. Helen said, “I have always appreciated his gentle nature and gratitude to people in his life. When we think about people being abandoned at a young age and being raised in a hospital, we make assumptions about the effect this has on their personality. But David is a testament to the people who raised him and how well they did in what must have been a very chaotic environment for children with additional needs. He is fiercely independent, and proud of the years of work he did at SunLife in the kitchens. He lives for his holidays and Christmas which I have shared with him over the years. Working with him is an absolute joy.”

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