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Holly has transitioned from life at our School to attending East Sussex College four days a week and returning to our Leisure & Skills Centre (LSC) and Hub each Wednesday, and for therapeutic horse riding on a Tuesday, which she absolutely loves. Even though it is a three hour round trip, her Mum, Gabriella, says that it is worth it for all the activities Holly can access on one site, and the enjoyment she gains from her experiences here.  

Holly is cognitively able, however she is deaf and non-verbal, so she needs an interpreter and uses her sign book. She has Larson’s Type syndrome, musculoskeletal and other related conditions, which means that Holly uses a wheelchair and needs support from those around her, but she is also incredibly independent and likes the freedom to do things for herself. 

Three words that describe Holly well are determined, independent and nurturing. Her Mum, Gabriella links these qualities directly to her former experiences as a school pupil here, saying that they have shaped Holly into the young woman she is now. “We owe a huge amount to Chailey Heritage Foundation for developing Holly into who she is today. She has absolutely blossomed in confidence and personality because of the essence of belonging that CHF has given her.”  

Now that Holly has transitioned to the LSC and Hub, a typical day involves going to the gym, where Holly likes to do boxing and lifting weights, and she has developed incredible upper body strength. As a result, she can self-propel her manual wheelchair, and when she attends rebound therapy on a trampoline, (her favourite activity), she can maneuver herself from her wheelchair to the floor unaided, and then over to the trampoline independently. Rosie, who supports Holly at the LSC and Hub, says, “Rebound gives Holly so much independence and freedom, allowing her to get out of her wheelchair, stretch out and be weightless, while receiving the many therapeutic benefits of each session.” She is also a huge fan of taking part in the drama sessions on Wednesday mornings with Imogen.  

Rosie describes how much Holly loves these experiences, “She just adores coming here, and you can tell because she laughs aloud and is completely immersed and engaged. Holly is a determined young lady who puts her all into everything she does, so much so that she always has a good appetite for lunch at GK’s Café afterwards.”  The kitchen staff have even learnt Makaton signing so that they can assist Holly with the daily menu choices! The disability level counter helps Holly as it is low enough for her to interact with staff as she pays for them herself with her own payment card. Ordering her own food and paying herself gives Holly the chance to practice everyday interactions in a safe, trusted environment that will help her out in the wider community. 

“Transitioning from school has been made easier by the fact that there is continuity with the community at Chailey Heritage, that Holly knows she can return here and feel that special bond that she built for so many years while at school.” Gabriella reflects that while Holly is very adaptable and loves a challenge, she also likes familiarity and routine, so she gets the best of both worlds when she visits the Hub and LSC. 

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