What the Community means to service users, relatives, external professionals and staff.
The service had a strong person centred culture which helped people to express their views and share their points of view.
People and staff told us that they routinely went to pubs, restaurants, cinema and shops. Staff demonstrated they were knowledgeable about people’s needs and the things that were important to them in their lives.
I’m as happy as can be.
I am not saying this in a biased way, I have complete confidence in them, I have always been impressed by the care. There is nothing negative I could say.
I can say unreservedly that I have never before worked in such a positive, therapeutic organisation, and I regard it a privilege to be able to use my skills in such an effective environment.
I first heard of the Community when I was training in Devon over twenty years ago. It has gone form strength to strength since then. I have tried to create such perspectives as I have seen in the Community where and when I can in the NHS environments in which I work, but, unfortunately, that has not been possible other than at an aspirational level. Good luck and keep up the good work.
A Community That Saved Me.
“Without community, there is no liberation”
I arrived in Hamelin having had a chaotic and dangerous ﬁve or so years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. My loving family needed me to be safe and start my own life as well as lead a full life themselves.
I was welcomed warmly by staff and house mates alike, which made my life more bearable despite being paranoid, depressed and scared of everything. From there, I began to realise that not everyone was against me. The healing home cooked food and the relaxed nature of Hamelin House gave me a good grounding.
The Pubs in town begin to not scare me so much and staff did not judge me when I felt in a panic. I enjoyed outdoor activities and have fond memories of long walks across Dartmoor and Canadian Canoeing along the River Dart. The cooking workshops made me feel like myself again. I made use of the local Totnes swimming pool and Cafe culture. My friendships grew with staff and housemates alike and I began to drive to the cinema with friends and then got the conﬁdence to reconnect with people I knew before I was ill. Having all this as a part of my story has been a gift and I am truly privileged to have met so many kind and positive people through the process.
From my perspective the Community of St Anthony and St Ellias is a safe, compassionate space where I felt able to stop. From there I felt able to gather my thoughts and the people there helped me to realise that life is, very much worth living.
The Boat trips on the River Dart and the Golf Club dinner dances are things I still go to to catch up with friends and I love to see how everyone is doing and tell them my news. This mutual support is vital and because of the masses of friendly faces, I feel so much happiness when I see so many wonderful people living their lives and achieving so much. Despite all the challenges people are overcoming them heroically and thriving in life.
When I received a personalised certiﬁcate at my ﬁrst Golf Club Dinner, I was very shy but felt very grateful that my achievements were valued. I treasure it it is one of my most prized possessions. Thank you!
I have lived independently in Exeter for almost eight years now. I’m very much enjoying community life having learned social skills from my Totnes friends. I have worked as a support worker for ‘Sense’ part time now for ﬁve years and have taken up, pantomimes, musical theatre and have the conﬁdence to travel the World alone again. Doing voluntary work for Marine Conservation in Madagascar and exploring Canada. I recently did a Shania Twain Tribute act in my local pub and sing on open mics in Exeter.
I have worked hard to get to where I am now and I cherish it because of the wonderful people who helped me and are present in my life because of the challenges I had to face. Knowing that I will never walk alone is of great comfort to me and it feels great to be grounded and healthy.
I am eternally thankful and grateful to Father Benedict Ramsden and Lilah Ramsden for their inspirational, imaginative and caring vision that has been so beneﬁcial to many, including me. I believe this ethos and belief system will also ﬁlter through into those who are struggling to ﬁnd hope and meaning within their lives. Little steps that the community supported me to make have changed my life for the better. The process has been enormously humbling. Thank you.
I carry the community around in my heart everywhere I go. As a group of people, you have all given me both roots to feel stable and wings to explore the world. My only limit is me now and I am committed to fearlessly living my life to the full. I believe in myself and endeavor to push myself outside of my comfort zone to keep achieving my dreams. Its a privilege to continue to be part of the Community of St Anthony and St Ellias which is so thriving and truly unique. Thank you!
In hospital, I was more sedated. I was asleep normally. It’s just a feeling where you haven’t got anywhere to go except there, just being there, depressed, so agitated, so angry, so furious why it happened to you, so down in the dumps that you can’t get out, can’t see any way forward. They should have more places like this, where it’s one-to-one, talking to you, gradually building you up into a state where you can be confident enough to carry on.
One relative described how the registered manager had travelled some distance to see their relative on two separate occasions in order to spend time with them. Their relative was non communicative but according to them the registered manager “Didn’t give up, they tried again and again. They got (my relative) to talk because they didn’t give up”.
I have found the involvement of the Community, with four of my patients, beneficial at every level…..It has to be said that the combination of the actions of the team I work with and the creative and engaging experiences he has in Devon have achieved what psychiatrists could not have up until he went there. He is truly building a life there. Social inclusion is a long path for some but the Community makes the path easier. I am truly impressed with the staff and their dedication and realism about long term change and development at an individual level…
Hamelin had a very homely atmosphere which fitted the personalities of the people who lived there. The home was very artistic and musical and people’s own beautiful paintings hung on the walls. People played music throughout the day and the atmosphere was a happy and social one. Throughout our inspection we heard laughter, chatting and gentle friendly banter.
The community’s visions and values were embedded in every aspect of the home. People were treated as equals and were encouraged to take control of their lives as far as possible. Staff competence and behaviours were continuously monitored by management to ensure they
were displaying the values of the community and the high level of competence expected.
They are not like other providers, I find it excellent, I cannot fault anything that they do.
People spoke highly of the staff at Priors Piece and they care they provided to them. People spoke of the kindness and caring nature of the staff with comments such as “The people who work here are funny”, “They’re nice to me, they’re never rude” and “They are nice to me here”.
They put people at the heart of what they do…they always put people first and they deliver.
I had meetings with them before I moved here. It made me feel much more comfortable that they knew how I communicate.
A culture of respect exists between staff and residents. This creates a caring environment for everybody – both staff and residents.
The people who work here are funny…They’re nice to me, they’re never rude.
I have absolutely 100% confidence in the place and the manager, I have complete confidence my son is in a safe place.
All of them walk the extra mile for the residents, the human input is there..They truly care about him. I’m being looked after as well, they support me and my wellbeing.
Staff told us how they had supported the transitional arrangements for a person who had recently moved into their own flat. Staff told us that although they were sad to see the person move on it was the right decision for them. One staff member said, “That’s the best bit about my job seeing people progress”.
The manager there got (my relative) on his feet again, he is so good and doesn’t give up.
People’s relatives also stated they felt people were safe. One relative said “Her safety always comes into everything” and “A great deal of consideration is taken for her safety”.
It’s brilliant, I wish there were more homes like this in the country. I cannot praise them enough
Over the last few years, I have been regularly visiting clients from our service who have become members of the Community. It’s been a priviledge to witness the return of hope, meaning and self-respect to the lives of our clients living there and to be working in partnership with an organization that really understands the value & meaning of community & Recovery.
During our inspection we observed some nice interactions between people and staff. There was much laughter, chatting and friendly banter exchanged. Staff clearly knew people well and people responded to staff in comfortable and friendly ways. For example, one person approached a member of staff when they were talking to us, put their arm around the staff member and said “This is my little friend here”.
They try very hard to respect her privacy, whilst still recognising how much help she needs.
Residents were involved in all aspects of their care, including planning and reviews, and took pride in being able to direct their care.
Well, what is it that makes The Community so unique? It enables people once again to grow into being people rather than patients. It helps them rediscover old skills and learn new skills. Its philosophy, that everyone is of value and has skills, creates an atmosphere of optimism and for many residents, for the first time in a very long time, suddenly all sorts of things are possible.
We are so impressed with the care they are giving our extremely ill son and it is the best care he has ever received.
People were supported to be as independent as possible, taking responsibility for their medicines, finances and learning new skills. The staff ensured people were physically safe and that their mental wellbeing was prioritised.
We teach people home skills, living skills, hygiene, social skills. We build trusting relationships with people at their own pace. We help build confidence.
They’re very honest, upfront and treated him with great dignity and respect. They go over and above in relation to dignity and respect. They are very sensitive.
The staff are nice, helpful and always make an effort to approach you, talk to you – all are laid back and calm.
Risks to people were managed so people were supported to fulfil their dreams and goals. For example one person we met had difficulties with balance due to their health condition. They were at risk of falls. The person had protective clothing and a staff escort in the community.
Dignity, privacy and choice are at the heart of our ethos and this is reflected in how we work with individuals.
I cannot praise them enough, this place should be cloned.
As my brothers next of kin I am pleased to report continued progress in his stability and social interaction over the past year. He stayed with us again at Christmas for ten days and was at ease with his surroundings even though we had moved house since the previous trip and have a rumbustious four year old to contend with. I can say with certainty that had his condition not been treated so successfully over the last ten or so years at the Community of St Antony and St Elias, we would simply have been unable to offer him the chance to stay with us for any length of time because of the danger he posed to himself, and to a lesser extent to those around him, and can only offer our wholehearted thanks to all those involved in his care, who have achieved so much.
I love it. It’s like my other family
He likes one to one attention but he doesn’t like large groups, he always puts his name down for lots of activities but he doesn’t always take part.
They are well trained in the technical stuff – they are human beings and I like them to be natural. They are great at cheering me up and we have a lot of banter between us all. They accept me for who I am.
Once a week I go to the Community allotment where we grow food for the five houses.
They recognise about capacity, they include clients in decision making. They include people in everything.
I never cease to be amazed at the transformation in a period of about six weeks when a new resident joins the house.
They are always looking for ways to improve, they always seek feedback, listen and never dismiss.
I am happy here and I do say how I feel, staff on the whole are very patient and kind to us all and they have a sense of humour which helps.
I had the very happy experience of working closely with the staff at the Community of St Antony and St Elias to look after a patient of mine with a severe and enduring mental illness…I was always very impressed with the positive attitude that the staff adopted which helped us all to see beyond the illness to the person underneath and their potential. They were informed and vigilant in terms of managing risk. They were caring and supportive whilst respecting the patient’s independence and wishes. They were respectful of the role of the various statutory organisations involved and committed to working collaboratively. I was confident that my patient was given the best possible opportunities to recover from their illness as a result.
The company provides lots of training and there is always the opportunity to do more all you have to do is ask
I came here to enjoy myself and to get back the time I lost when I was in hospital.
They are very aware of the facets of her illness and her safety is top priority.
The house manager is lovely and very supportive.
The training is really good here, that’s one of the best things about this company they ensure that we develop the right skills. Its great!
I can do what I want. I have a virtual music studio in my room and one of the staff helps me with this as well as another carer from another house. Music is life for me. I also go walking, fishing, canoeing and archery. I am in an archery competition on Friday.
The Community is safely and effectively keeping these patients well.
We encourage everybody to support each other. Observing others overcoming their own challenges offers opportunity for discussion, reflection and growth, and this can diminish isolation and lonliness.
The quality of the manager and the staff is professional but also caring. They genuinely seem to value their work and value the people they look after.
Residents can choose what they want to do and where they want to go…we encourage and support people to take control over their own lives.
There is an ethos of “Everyone is of value just as they are and nothing is too good for them”, this results in an atmosphere of total care.
If I was worried about something I’d talk to staff, they’d listen, no problem there. The Staff help to keep me safe, they listen to you…it’s the best place.
There’s always someone here and available when I need them.
They have enabled him to achieve a quality of life he could never achieve in another setting. I am hugely impressed with them, they are an outstanding provider of care, I couldn’t have been more impressed.
We get to spend a lot of time with people, staff notice if someone is feeling down and spend more time with them. It’s a caring home.
Our role is to build trust with people in our own care and support – I think that helps them to feel safe.
We have enough staff. We have time to sit down with the guys. We keep them company.
They must vet the staff really well, the calibre of staff is exceptional.
I cannot speak highly enough about Prior’s Piece. They have turned the life around of one of my service users.
I love it it’s all about empowerment, encouragement and independence at their pace, we are a community a family.
They really know their stuff…You can tell that the company values the importance of training and invests in their staff team.
One of the people living at the home was an accomplished artist and they had created a work space for this person in the garden, this was important as it enabled them to leave their canvasses and paint out instead of having to pack them away each day.
They were open in their dialogue and they stepped up to find out what they could do. They are not like other providers. I find them really brilliant.
Throughout the inspection, we saw staff offering choice during. meal times and people were able to help themselves freely. Staff told us “we always asked people what they want; you often end up cooking two or three choices”.
The staff have always been kind to her..The staff are very nice and I think they genuinely care for her. She has a really good relationship with them, a really friendly relationship.
Staff spoke highly of the people who lived in Priors Piece and praised their talents and personalities. Staff made comments such as “He is a lovely chap, hugely intelligent”, “He’s a poet, like no one you’ve ever met”, “He is excellent company” and “He is a very friendly and most likeable chap”.
I can say without a doubt that this organisation has the highest standards. To needs, crises, risk, aspirations, preferences and opportunities of relationship based care and treatment it has been second to none since I have been in psychiatry…The Community lead the way, the work is very well led and focused from a multidisciplinary perspective. They get my vote and always have.
They saved my son, the change in him is huge. They trust him, teach him to live and enjoy life. It’s the best thing that ever happened to him. They should get a gold star.
I like my room. I’ve got a lovely bed, it’s blue, I love blue.
Nothing could be better. I have access to Wi-Fi, music and everybody’s really friendly…this really benefits me.
People and staff spoke highly of the registered manager. Comments included “I get on very well with (manager’s name)”, “He’s excellent”, “(manager’s name) is very approachable. He cares that’s why”.
Senior managers regularly ask for our opinions and feedback. This leads to a culture of openness where people feel like they are contributing to the development of the service.
My son is doing things which he hasn’t done in years such as playing football and getting back into his photography.
Stunning effort, engagement and care throughout all this time. I would trust them with my own children if the need ever arose.
It’s starting to feel like home, It does feel like home, I’m going to paint my room!
The staff are very good and they treat me with respect and dignity and the staff are always there for me.
People who lived in 5 Priory Drive were supported towards independent living with care, dedication and understanding. People spoke very highly of the home and described how living there met their individual needs.
My brother was very active before his illness being a keen scout, walker and cyclist, and has really thrived on the physical activities and social interaction that are such an integral part of the Community’s ethos. Prior to joining the Community, he made little or no progress at all and regressed on a number of occasions. I believe it remains unique in the country in this aspect of treatment for mental illness and his record since moving to Totnes speaks for itself about the benefits for him.
Staff treated people with kindness, compassion, dignity and respect. Steps were taken to improve people’s relationships with their relatives and staff had organised regular day trips for one person to visit their relatives as they could no longer stay overnight.
There is a homely feel rather than an institutionalised one; it’s relaxed and everyone tries to get along. We have the well-being of people at the centre of our hearts.
One relative told us that the staff treated everyone as equals and this was apparent when they visited and sometimes they were unable to tell who was a resident and who was a member of staff. They told us this was because people were “together” and “treated each other with so much respect”.
There’s lots of variety in activities and they cater for all abilities…There is a two week rolling rota which changes monthly all you have to do is fill in a form its great.
We were told that people who lived in the home benefited from “outstanding” care because of the competence and dedication of the management.
He lives life exactly how he likes to live it
I feel people are safe, they protect people and I find it excellent.
I love working here, I really enjoy it we’re all equal and we each have our own skills.
There are no things that I am unhappy with.
I like living here. The staff are friendly.
They are responsive to people needs and have a can do attitude, nothing appears to be too much trouble for them. They are a brilliant service which achieves the most amazing outcomes for people, they should be proud of the service they provide.
There is always plenty for people to eat, they have good quality fresh food.
Staff ensured a great deal of planning and preparation was involved in their care. Staff had liaised and coordinated with people, their relatives, healthcare and social care professionals as well as relevant authorities in order to provide a support package and an environment which reflected people’s individual needs and preferences.
They managed his crisis like no other home could have. They never treated him like an unwanted parcel.
I had a week long training induction, very thorough, and since then updates on physical intervention, breakaway, Asperger’s…the induction gives additional skills and is tailored to the people who live here.
They are very supportive, they give (my relative) structure and there’s a safety net which supports them with their independence.
They have created a culture of respect between staff and people who use the service.
Staff went the extra mile to ensure personalised care. One doctor we spoke to confirmed care was personalised, “..a lot of common sense and human respect.”
The staff here just see the best in people. They’re always praising how nice everyone is…If staff weren’t kind they wouldn’t be here
Everyone seems happy. It seems like a happy atmosphere…I have never worked in such a caring environment. It feels like a home.
The staff are brilliant at enabling and encouraging people”. To make the most of their daily lives people were encouraged to try new experiences whilst managing any risks they might face.
There are very few settings that could manage as well as they do. They are an amazing place.
They have an exceptional way of making it feel like a home rather than just a house.
It’s really nice here. We’re one big team, residents included…I like being around these people. All the residents have such good qualities.
Nothing is too much trouble all people have to do is ask and the staff provide it, they really do look after them.
Privacy and choice prevail. The atmosphere of respect which prevails for both the staff and the residents results in a very responsive atmosphere.
It’s a happy feeling when you’ve got mates…you motivate each other. You help each other strive forward.
My patient has had a first class service that is safe and effective in a way that defies belief
The manager is great, I think he’s genuinely just a nice guy.
Staff had a good knowledge and understanding of each individual. They knew how to reduce environmental stress and anticipate situations which might trigger people to become anxious and / or agitated.
They (the staff) always think of us in a good way, nothings too hard for them.
Staff are always available to facilitate home visits; it’s never been a problem.
The staff help me a lot, they give me advice, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I can say unreservedly that I have never before worked in such a positive, therapeutic organisation, and I regard it a privilege to be able to use my skills in such an effective environment.
Staff are very knowledgeable and skilled…there’s always plenty of staff when we visit.
My relative has been in several care homes since being diagnosed….This is the only place that has had either the resources or the will to materially improve his condition and quality of life. I only wish there were more homes like this.
Staff cared deeply about people’s wellbeing and self-esteem. Each person’s care plan contained information about how staff should boost people’s self-esteem. For example, staff were encouraged to include one person in all conversations, where possible, and acknowledge their achievements with positive feedback. With another person, staff were encouraged to create opportunities for the person to boost their own self-esteem through sport and outdoor activity, which they excelled at.