Here, one of our Parent Carers, Penny, talks about how Crossroads Care has supported not just her son with Complex Needs, but the entire family too

17-year-old Freddie has complex needs, including scoliosis, dystonia and global developmental delay, and although he cannot communicate verbally, his smile never fails to light up the room. Freddie uses facial expressions, body language, gestures and vocalisations to express his feelings and needs.

Crossroads Care first came into Freddie’s life when he was just two years old. We provide the whole family with respite support every week through a bespoke care package which meets all of Freddie’s needs, such as epilepsy management and administering medication.

Penny, Freddie’s mum, says: ‘I used to believe that if you didn’t know Fred you couldn’t possibly look after him like we do. I felt that if I had someone to look after him, it meant that I wasn’t coping, and I was. I felt it was my responsibility to look after my children, not anyone else’s.

‘But 15 years ago, when Freddie was only two years old, Crossroads Care came into our lives and made me readdress those thoughts. I realised that there are special people who love your child and can support and care for them. And yes, I could — and can — walk out the door with peace in my heart knowing that he is getting all the attention he needs.

‘Not only do Crossroads Care support me, but they have supported us as a family. They look at the bigger picture and the knock-on effect that bringing up a child with additional needs has on everyone.

‘They enabled us to spend quality time with Fred’s older brothers, now 19, and 21. I found it very hard to accept that Fred was being looked after while we went out; that our family wasn’t complete. But with time I realised that there are some places Fred just wouldn’t have been happy or comfortable at, and also the older boys need time too.

‘When Crossroads Care first entered our lives, Julie [Da Costa] was Head of Children’s Services; she was always at the end of the phone. Her guidance and support was, and continues to be, invaluable. Every Crossroads Care Support Worker has been reliable, respectful, professional, positive, confidential and has always given 110%. I cannot recommend them highly enough and we are forever grateful.

‘Crossroads Care continues to support us to a very high standard, and I don’t know what we’d do without them. Their consistency allows me to make plans. Crossroads Care is the best. Thank you for caring for us.’

Last year, Freddie was awarded a coveted Jack Petchey Achievement Award for his constant resilience and positivity. The Jack Petchey Foundation is a grant-giving charity that funds programmes and projects benefitting young people aged 11-25, in London and Essex.

‘Freddie has shown the true meaning of resilience and always maintains an amazing attitude, comes to school, attends to his curriculum and makes everyone around him smile,’ says the organisation. ‘Freddie is an inspiration and is very deserving of a Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Award.’