Kingsdown House care service in Strood, run by the Regard Group, is going the extra mile to support a young man with autism who is fascinated by trains.
Staff have transformed part of Sean Kelly’s bedroom into a ‘railway carriage’’ along with brick-effect wall paper and station signs on the wall. To complete the scene the 18-strong team installed two pairs of genuine train seats to create a scenario that gives the illusion of traveling by train.
“Sean is completely fascinated by trains,” said Andy Jupp, manager of Kingsdown House, a residential home run by the Regard Group.
“Once he arrives home from college in the afternoon he will spend an hour with me on the office computer watching trains online or on his tablet. We wanted to create a personalised space for Sean and asked him how he’d like his room to look and - funnily enough - he pointed to a train. I’m so proud of my staff, in particular senior support worker Natasha Boyle and her support worker mum Julie Boyle, for making this possible.”
The train seats were provided and refurbished by Northern Rail, who had them delivered all the way from Doncaster and also donated a model train for Sean.
Meanwhile Regard’s regional co-ordinator Tracey Cleary and her husband Tony, who is a driver for train operators Southeastern, helped source and supply more train paraphernalia.
“It was such a nice gesture and made all the difference for us to be able to create such an amazing space for Sean,” added Andy.
Sean, aged 18, was consulted at every stage of the makeover – on the train theme for his room and the colour scheme for his en-suite bathroom.
“Because he loves Harry Potter we incorporated an archway that leads from one part of his room to another – accessed via Platform 9¾ of course,” said Natasha Boyle.
“This takes you through to an area with wood-effect wallpaper and four train seats grouped together like on the Hogwarts Express. We even created a ‘window’ that looks out on to a framed poster of railway tracks going through the countryside on the wall, and putting curtains up so it looks like an authentic railway carriage window. Sean loves to sit there – it makes him feel like he’s really on a train. We also painted his en-suite a bright shade of blue and covered the walls in pictures of Hogwarts so it feels like the school’s grounds looking over the lake. We use Makaton symbols and signs to communicate with Sean and he’s told us how delighted he is with his new room. You can also tell he’s happy by his behaviour.”
Tracey and Tony Cleary have also organised a special train ride to St Pancras for Sean, to celebrate his 19th birthday in May.
Kingsdown House is a residential home for up to nine adults with learning disabilities, autism, and challenging behaviour. For further information contact Theresa Cook on 07812 072 043 or see www.Regard.co.uk
The Regard Group is the UK’s fourth largest private organisation providing supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury, caring for more than 1,088 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,600 people working at 163 locations throughout the UK.
For more information about he Regard Group please click here