Julian looking at the camera wearing glasses

Julian's story- Breaking boundaries, a life beyond isolation

Julian is a proud supporter of Crystal Palace - he has been since the age of thirteen. He spends a lot of his time eagerly following their progress and watching their games – it’s one of his greatest passions, along with the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword. 

Julian once found comfort in the familiarity of his bedroom and the glow of a television screen. He lived in considerable isolation before moving to a new home with SeeAbility’s support in 2020. Prior to that, he lived in a home for elderly people with dementia, an environment that did not foster his independence. Within this secure but limiting environment, the outside world appeared daunting, particularly crowded spaces. 

Julian's aversion to crowds had been deeply rooted, making it a challenge to navigate daily life beyond the confines of his home. However, the team at SeeAbility has taken measured steps to gradually introduce Julian to new experiences, earning his trust and expanding his horizons. 

"We started by building a relationship with him, so he trusted us," Ali, a senior support worker explained. "We encouraged him to go to college, go to small classes with two to five people, and he really enjoyed it." 

Julian started to attend classes at a local college, studying IT and maths. Every week slowly but steadily, they progressed, introducing outings for meals at the local pub with his housemates and eventually embarking on longer road trips, gently pushing the boundaries of Julian's comfort zone. 

With newfound trust and experiences under his belt, Julian’s perspective began to shift. His confidence grew with each outing. 

A pivotal moment for Julian was attending a Crystal Palace football match with Ali, in a bustling stadium with over four thousand people. He even met some of the players after the match. 

“It was a massive achievement for Julian because Julian does not like crowds," Ali explained. "This was the first time he trusted me to this extent, and he absolutely loved it." 

“I get out all the time now," Julian proudly exclaimed when asked. This frequency is a stark contrast to his previous routine of spending entire weeks within the confines of his room. 

Ali emphasised the significance of taking things step by step "If you are going to break a shell straight away, it is going to hurt. But if you break it piece by piece, it will not."

Piece by piece, with support from SeeAbility, Julian’s shell has begun to crack, revealing a newfound appreciation for life beyond the confines of his room. 

Julian with a Crystal Palace player