Fastbridge was our second home, opened in 2001 and located approx. 5 miles from Bramley, near the village of Cranleigh.
Throughout their placement at Apple Orchard, the young people are helped to develop skills and knowledge which will increase their abilities to live independently. The principle aim is for the young people to relate to the wider community in ways which are desirable and safe, whilst simultaneously increasing their confidence in solving problems and coping with demanding situations.
Fastbridge is a semi-independent home which has a particular remit to work with young people in ways which will foster increased independence. The young people who reside there have been assessed as showing sufficient maturity and aptitude to balance greater autonomy within clear boundaries and guidelines, all designed to ensure the young peoples’ safe behaviour toward themselves and others.
By the time they move to Fastbridge, most young people will be studying at college and /or working. When not at work or college the young people attend Apple Orchard School. At all times the young people are helped to use their own resources to meet the demands of independent living. It is an exciting landmark in the young peoples’ lives but it can also be a time of hard work.
Young people at Fastbridge learn quickly that greater independence goes hand in hand with enhanced commitment to the therapeutic ethos and increased responsibilities. These are combined with additional opportunities to for the young people to develop their own interests.
Life at Fastbridge
The group at Fastbridge is an older peer group each of whom is making more defined moves towards independence. These may include such things as starting college or work, taking exams and leaving care. Fastbridge Farmhouse ethos forms an excellent bridge between the main homes’ ‘policies regarding physical contact and supervision and the expectations of living in the wider community. The home has a more relaxed atmosphere and a smaller group.
There is an appropriate touch policy at Fastbridge, whereby young people are encouraged to take responsibility for their own personal boundaries whilst respecting others. Young people can have TV’s in their bedrooms and can work towards mobile phones and internet access. The group is supported to put into practice many of the skills that they have learnt at Bramley and Slinfold.
The young people find this to be a challenging and exciting time. There is an increased expectation that the young people will collaborate closely with their peers and with staff to ensure that they use openness as a central apparatus to continue their safety. Budgets for toiletries and clothing are managed by the young people and the tasks relating to the daily upkeep of the home are shared. Each young person cooks for the group at least once a week and goes food shopping for the home. They are required to be responsible for all their own laundry and ironing and to make their own appointments with for example, the G.P. and Dentist.
The young people have an active role in organising activities for the home. This includes meeting as a group to decide how to spend the activity budget. The young people learn quickly that activities do not always need to be expensive or away from the home. The young people have developed a vegetable plot where they can grow their own vegetables which are used in the weekly menu. They also play football and basketball and all the young people have membership to the local gym where they can attend 2/3 times per week. This allows them to save money for larger activities such as ‘Go Ape’, Theatre trips to London and Museum trips alongside regular activities such as Cinema and Bowling.