Thera Trust – Safe and Secure

Posted: 16th November 2016

Denis Rowley from the Thera Trust writes about Thera Trust’s new book ‘Safe and Secure’ which looks into the important questions posed to parents planning to secure a comfortable future for their children and families…

I have had the privilege of working with many parents of disabled people – children and adults- over a four-decade career in social care. Many of these people have had to battle against the odds to help their son or daughter live the lives they want. Not surprisingly many of these family carers are fiercely independent in their quest to get the support and services that their relative needs. Always at the back of their minds is an often unspoken – sometimes unspeakable – question. One that is so hard to deal with that even the most competent and capable parent can find difficult to address:

“Who is going to love and care for my child the way that I do when I am no longer here?”
This is the question that Thera Trust’s new book “Safe and Secure” helps parents to deal with.
If I had to sum up the advice given in the book I would say it has two components:
Legal (or Science) aspects, and Social (or Art) aspects.

So listen very carefully, here comes the Science bit! Families need a succession plan based on writing an effective will; setting up a discretionary trust; and establishing powers of attorney ( or very occasionally considering guardianship). Thera’s guidebook takes parents gently trough the steps involved in creating a plan for the future- always with the proviso that they share their thinking with other family members and always take expert legal advice.

The Social component that complements this legal work involves the art of creating an enduring circle of support. Such a circle usually consists of 6-8 people who commit to being the engine room of the family’s plan to create and maintain a good life for their relative. What is distinctive about a Circle of Support is that people join in because they have some relationship of love or care for the person who is the focus of the group. They are not staff: they are not paid; and they are not sessional volunteers. They are circle members because they want to be there.
This combination of a detailed and sound legal and a support mechanism that plans for, and is sustained through the change of generations is a potent mix.

I am lucky enough to be a member of a Circle of Support for my friend L. She is an inspiration to us all. Her circle goes through phases – sometimes it is quiet and L. just gets on with her very busy life. At other times when there are pressures or crises, the circle is very active in its support not only for L. but also for her family. L. may be the focus but everybody gets something out of being a part of the circle. As L.’s dad put it the circle has been an extra wing that, over the years, has enabled her to fly – in L.’s case quite literally as you can see in the photo above.

If you have any questions about Safe and Secure or would like to receive a copy, we would be delighted to hear from you. To request a copy, go to the Thera website here.

We are pleased to be able to offer the book for free but we do request a small fee of £3.00 to cover postage and packing.