Catching up with fishing, hooks in more skills for Callum

Caroline Waugh, National Co-production Advisory Group
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Making it Real

Acute Need CIC is one of many care providers who’ve made a commitment to offering personalised care and support by adopting the Making it Real framework.

Caroline Waugh, a person with lived experience of disability, and a keen advocate of the framework interviewed Callum, one of the people supported by Acute Need. She was keen to hear first-hand how he’s doing and the difference a personalised approach has made to him.

My first observations of Callum is that he is a lively, cheerful and attractive man of 21, from St Helens. He sustained a significant brain injury when he was run over by a BMW X5, a big 4x4, he tells me with pride.

At the time, Callum was studying for his GCSEs. He recalls returning to them after his accident:

“It came with its own set of struggles. I don’t think I came out with many passes but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’

He looks wistful as he recalls his life before the accident: ‘Rugby, schoolwork, training, rugby, schoolwork, eating…’

He is a coffee aficionado, and before COVID19, he volunteered in Costa.

‘Coffee is my addiction, my favourite is cortado or a double espresso.’ He used to clear tables and help with washing dishes: ‘It was a good laugh.’

Callum lives at home with his family whilst receiving a wraparound care package from Acute Need with input from a neuropsychologist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, physiotherapist, and two Rehabilitation Support Workers.

I have opportunities, to learn, volunteer and work and can do things that match my interests, skills and abilities. [Making it Real I statement]

He loves his time with Stuart, his Rehabilitation Support Worker, who shares his passion -fishing.

 ‘I feel at one with everything – body, mind… everything just feels calm and complete.’

And Stuart, who’s worked with brain injury survivors for four years, says he has valued building a relationship with Callum over 16 months:

I Iove doing it. Callum is great to work with.’

I ask Callum about the skills he’s developing through his fishing hobby.

‘We generally plan the night before. How long we’re going to be there, whether we need to eat before we go, if we need to buy anything first…. Sometimes we aren’t always singing from the same song sheet, but they’re always there to help and push me to strive for my next goal, to complete and achieve, to move on to the bigger picture.’

All of the activities around practicing tying on hooks and different lines help Callum’s hand-eye coordination and left-hand dexterity. Particularly beneficial in the absence of his physiotherapy during lockdown.

I wonder which fish Callum is proudest of catching.

‘I wouldn’t say I’ve got my proudest catch yet because I’m always trying to better it. I’m not going to be happy till I catch a shark!’

So, what of the future?

‘I’d like to go abroad, maybe a fishing trip, or go to a festival. I love music - every genre.’

As a brain injury survivor, myself, I enjoyed chatting with Callum and I wish him luck catching that shark.

Interview by Caroline Waugh, who works with TLAP as a member of the National Co-Production Advisory Group (NCAG).

Think Local Act Personal’s Making it Real aims to help social care, health and housing services get better at what they do so that people can live the lives they want, doing things that matter to them. It uses I and We statements to describe what good, person-centred care and support looks like, from the perspectives of people who access services and people who work in them.


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