When Beaulieu eventually moved to Newport, with the building all on one level we were able to increase the overnight stays to once a fortnight. We would sometimes ask Ashleigh’s grandparents to have her overnight, which meant that we could also have a well earnt night out, knowing that both the children were being well cared for and happy.
This time became very precious to us all, for us all to be ourselves and most importantly for Joe to gain some independence. It meant that we were able to do things we couldn’t do with Joe (there are lot of places that are not suitable for Wheelchairs) and take Ashleigh out to places we couldn’t normally go.
We tried to spend as much time as possible at home amusing Joe, but we also had household chores to attend to, whereas when Joe was at Beaulieu he would have a staff member all to himself!!! We could feel relaxed when Joe was there in the knowledge that all his medical needs were being tended to and that he was so happy being there.
The years flew by so quickly, and before we knew it Joe would soon be turning 18 and would have to move on from Beaulieu. Unfortunately, this didn’t go to plan. The place that Joe was moving on to suddenly decided that they couldn’t take him as they didn’t have a nurse there. This was a huge blow to us, although we weren’t looking forward to Joe leaving the security of Beaulieu, we knew it had to happen, but now we were faced with having no respite at all and wondering how we would all cope. This was a very scary prospect, and Joe had been looking quite forward to meeting up with old friends that already moved on.
Anyway, after many fraught meetings, phone calls and e-mails and much persuasion from the manager at Beaulieu and her even having to alter the registration, it was finally agreed that Joe could stay on at Beaulieu for another year while we sorted out somewhere else he could go. This was such a life –line for us, especially as Joe was leaving school too, so a lot of changes all in one go.
Joe did leave Beaulieu the following year and with the help of Beaulieu staff his transition to Maple Tree went very well and he settled in there quite quickly. I just wonder how things would have worked out if it hadn’t been for Beaulieu and will always have very fond memories of all our times there.