I’m a parent to Bradley, who attends David Lewis most weekdays. Bradley has complex health needs and we were told he wouldn’t speak, but nowadays it’s like he’s swallowed a dictionary!

I took Bradley out of school at 18 as there seemed to be constant problems. I’d get called up a couple of times a week and need to go in and get him. His next placement definitely needed to be somewhere that would give him life and purpose.

I remember visiting the David Lewis day service for the first time. I needed to know that Bradley would be safe, and that his complex health needs would be catered for. As I walked around, I was looking to see how other young adults of Bradley’s age were engaged. They were all thriving – smiling and happy and occupied in tasks. I knew almost instantly that this was the right place for him.

Bradley started that year in the September with a one to one, full time. Almost instantly it worked. Whereas in other settings he’s been very anxious, he was calm and able to ask the staff for help. Knowing that there was a medical team onsite also helped me to relax. At the end of the second month Bradley didn’t need his one to one. He’d felt his confidence grow and most importantly he knew he could ask for help and be given it. He’d transformed from an anxious, extremely worried young man who sat at the edges, to a valued member of the team!

Over years he has found skills I never dreamed of for him. His timetable is full – working in the onsite café and shop, cooking and loving the weekly art sessions. He’s made friends who he has cared for, helped and asked for help and his caring nature has blossomed. He feels seen, heard and valued.

It’s been so important to me that I trust the staff. For the first time I’m able to relax and enjoy time for myself whilst he’s happily occupied at David Lewis. Basically, Bradley is awesome, and I need somewhere for him that feels that he is awesome too!

To tell you how important this service is to us, here’s some words from Bradley:

‘Before David Lewis if me and Sam looked in a mirror with other people we’d be grey. Sam wouldn’t have a mouth and I wouldn’t smile. Now if we looked in a mirror, we are pink, we smile. Sam has a smile mouth and I’d be laughing with my friends and the staff, we’d all be smiley happy and we’d be seen!’