Shaun Littlejohn, who is registered blind and has a learning disability, realised a lifelong aspiration to drive thanks to The Fremantle Trust’s Wishes and Dreams initiative.
As a resident at Milton Keynes Supported Living service run by the Trust, Shaun has always longed to be able to take the wheel but never thought it possible, having been registered blind since childhood.
He is one of 25 people across The Fremantle Trust’s learning disability and older people’s services to benefit from its 25th anniversary Wishes and Dreams campaign. When the team heard about his ambition, they sought help from professional instructor, Steve Lewis, who is chief instructor at R3 Rockingham, delivering specialist hands-on driving tuition and skid avoidance courses.
On the day Shaun was joined by his parents Gill and Brian Littlejohn, friends Chris Marsh and Iain Freeman and his support worker Teresa Goy, who watched him settle into the driving seat in a dual controlled MK7 Golf 2.0 ltr TDI. Steve supported from the passenger seat to enable him to drive around the Rockingham Oval.
The experience will go down as a memory for Shaun to treasure as the idea of driving was something he never imagined would ever become a reality. He was so taken aback when he was told about the opportunity he said: “You’re telling me fibs – it really can’t be true!”
Commenting on the experience, Sue McMillan, service manager at Milton Keynes Supported Living, said: “Shaun talks a lot about how his brothers drive and that he wants to be just like them. It was an emotional day for him and his family as it really was a life-changing experience. We’re extremely grateful to Steve at R3 Rockingham for making it happen.”
Steve Lewis added: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet Shaun. Our training is based around hands-on understanding of what a vehicle is doing when we drive. We often talk about ‘feel’. Shaun fully understood the importance of smooth, gentle inputs to the car. In fact his throttle control was smoother than many sighted people I’ve sat beside. It was a pleasure to see the smiles not only from Shaun but everyone involved in the project”.
About Freemantle Trust
Founded in 1992, The Fremantle Trust is a registered charity providing first class care and support services that enhance quality of life for older people and adults with a learning disability.
The Trust’s services include care homes, day care and supported living schemes in 58 locations across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and North London. Its 1,850 highly skilled employees are dedicated to helping people live life to the full.
The Fremantle Trust is committed to safeguarding the independence, rights and lifestyle of every individual and believes that those who use its services should be genuinely consulted and fully respected.
The Trust’s services are informed by its values: celebrating the uniqueness in everyone, putting care and kindness at the heart of everything we do, exceeding people’s expectations and acting openly and honestly. These values are embedded in the organisation, which fully supports its people and is committed to continuous learning.
The Trust is the largest single supplier of care services for older people in Buckinghamshire, with 793 registered care beds. More widely it supports the individual lifestyle choices of almost 2,000 residents, tenants and people attending day care services.
Homes for Older People in Buckinghamshire
Wing, Aylesbury, Chesham, Marlow, Burnham, Holmer Green,
Princes Risborough, High Wycombe, Farnham Common, Stoke Mandeville and Chalfont St Peter
Homes for Older People in North London
Woodside Park, Finchley and New Southgate
Learning Disability Services
Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Hazlemere, High Wycombe, Chesham,
Gerrards Cross, Bedford, Royston
Community Based Support Hubs
My Time – Bedford
Day care services – Maidenhead,