Sally Percival, shares with us the positive difference that a
personal budget has made to her son's life.
My son Alexander is 19-years-old. He is a fantastic young man,
very funny and really enjoys life. Alexander has a diagnosis
of autism, learning difficulties and associated mental health
problems. This means that he needs a lot of support in the home and
is not able to go out of the house on his own.
Prior to receiving direct payments and having a personal budget,
Alexander was given a one-size-fits-all service. This was fairly
inconsistent and often meant that there would be a number of
different and new people turning up at our house each week to
support him. The condition of autism needs routine and generally
what would happen was Alexander would go into his room and the
people who turned up to support him would have to leave. The
service was causing more stress and difficulties than if we didn't
have the service and it really wasn't working at all.
We applied for a direct payment as soon as they became available
and the change has been massive. By choosing and employing our own
staff we are able to keep consistency and reliability in
Alexander's support. We have now had the same personal assistants
for Alexander for the past eight years and can plan things
successfully around his scheduled support. It is a lot less
stressful as we know Alexander is going to get a good quality of
support and will enjoy himself.
Alexander has a real passion for World War Two and is a
fanatical World War Two re-enactor and member of several living
history groups. His personal budget helps go towards a personal
assistant to take him to these re-enactments. They are often
overnight so while Alexander pays for all his own costs, the
personal budget goes towards the expenses that his personal
assistant will have, such as hotel bills. Without the personal
budget he wouldn't be able to go to the re-enactments.
Before he started re-enacting Alexander didn't have a particular
focus in life but since going to re-enactments his interest has
encouraged him in so many ways. For example, it has given him the
desire to learn to read and write and spurred him on
It also means that while Alexander is away I have the
opportunity to have a bit of a life myself and I can recharge my
batteries ready to listen to all the intricate details about his
weekend. That gives me the strength to go on during the week as
well and helps makes life liveable.
It's not easy for Alexander doing a lot of the things that he
does but his hobby really pushes Alex out of his comfort zone and
has given him so much more confidence in himself. Now when he goes
to re-enactments his personal assistant is often just in the
background while Alexander is the one that takes over. That would
never have happened previously and he really feels part of a
I am so proud of Alexander for what he has done and so are a lot
of other people, his whole family look on at Alexander in awe at
the courage he has. Direct payments and a personal budget have made
all the difference.