James is 36 years old and joined Dame Hannahs in 2002. He attended our school from the age of 14 to 19 and then moved away before returning in 2017 to Hannahwood, our Adult Services Provision. He is tetraplegic with curvature of the spine and mild learning difficulties.

Before starting at Dame Hannahs James lived in Manchester with his mother and attended a school for children with PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities) and behavioural difficulties. Both James and his mother realised it was not the right environment for him as it was very disruptive and they both felt that he could do more at school. He was lacking the right equipment to facilitate his learning and there were very limited activities and opportunities.

When he became a teenager his mother started looking for a new placement and, although it was located far from home in Manchester, Dame Hannahs was easily the best option. As soon as he visited the place and met head teachers Bill and Ruth Evans he knew immediately that he wanted to be there. He started in the September term and spent several happy years in school.

After leaving Dame Hannahs school James attended two colleges and was cared for by Dame Hannahs support worker George Atkinson in his own home. He then moved away to a nursing home called Station Road in Northamptonshire but the communication support was very limited which affected James relationship with his mother. James was unhappy at Station Road so George approached Dame Hannahs about the possibility of James returning. He was assessed and fortunately was able to start back at Dame Hannahs quite quickly.

James is very happy living in Gilleys bungalow and enjoys a wide range of activities. He particularly enjoys getting out and about such as shopping trips. He also really enjoys watching police dramas and he always enjoys celebrating special occasions such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Mother Julie said “Dame Hannahs really changed the lives of both myself and James. When James returned to Dame Hannahs in 2017 he got his independence, voice and life back. Station Road had so many limitations as they never went out and communications were very limited. The staff are always so welcoming at Dame Hannahs and the level of onsite therapy has always been excellent. The wonderful help James has received with his communication has really helped revive our relationship. There are also so many opportunities and activities on offer.
James is loyal and loving, determined and persistent and has the memory of an elephant! He is also a worrier and feels his emotions strongly but he is witty with a slapstick sense of humour and laughs at other people’s mishaps. The main thing is that since returning to Dame Hannahs he has developed into a very happy chappy. As long as James is happy our relationship is good.”

Julie is a continuing healthcare nurse assessor working for an NHS ICB (integrated care board). She moved from Manchester to Somerset shortly after James first started at Dame Hannahs so that she could be nearer to him.