How we change lives Stories from the people we support Kirsten's first ever holiday! Kirsten has been in supported services since she was young and has lived in our Sherwood Place service since 2019. She is autistic which means sometimes trying new things can be stressful or challenging and she relies heavily on her support team to help her feel safe and secure. It is with their help that Kirsten is able to face new things that she might otherwise struggle with. Like when they helped Kirsten to go on her first ever holiday last year! In 2019 Kirsten's team had lots of meetings about potentially taking Kirsten on holiday and how she would cope with this. They worked together to ensure they picked a place near to home, with lots of home comforts. Kirsten didn't have the understanding that she was going on holiday, which made planning even more important as her team wanted to ensure there were plenty of familiar things around to help her relax. There was a lot of preparation put into the trip and after the holiday being postponed due to COVID, in September 2021 the day finally arrived. Kirsten, alongside her team, travelled to the Highland Wildlife park. Kirsten's team initially worried that she wouldn't enjoy it, but she had a really wonderful time. Kirsten finds it difficult to concentrate on something for long periods so it was an incredible feat for her to be able to stay and enjoy herself for as long as she did. While on holiday she was able to enjoy going out for meals - which she loved, particularly in the evenings. Kirsten also loves trains so was delighted to visit the train station at Huntly. She was even able to get on a train and travel to the next station and back which was a massive highlight! Kirsten's parents, Kathleen and Tim, were delighted to see Kirsten enjoying herself so much and wanted to take a moment to recognise her support team. "We can’t thank the staff enough - Jackie, Anne, Morag, Sam and Shona for taking Kirsten on holiday. She had a wonderful time. Kirsten was clearly happy and felt very secure out of her own environment - this was all down to the wonderful caring staff." Kirsten's support team are also immensely proud of her as team leader, Jackie told us. "I am so proud of Kirsten and her team. So much planning had taken place, including visits to the site to do risk assessments, and then COVID hit and everything was put on hold. When restrictions were removed the team pulled together and made it happen. The holiday went ahead without one hitch and was a success." To acknowledge her amazing achievement, Kirsten was named a winner of the Mary Williamson Achievement awards and received a £250 prize. Kirsten plans to spend her prize money on some sensory equipment for her summer house garden. If you would like to read more stories from the people we support you can click here.