Blog Flexible support enables three friends to manage their money, volunteer and gain independence Sisters Julia and Kate live together with their friend Sophie; all three have learning disabilities. They are extremely house-proud and love the independence of owning their own home while also enjoying holidays together, taking part in extreme sports and doing their weekly Zumba classes. Using their personal budgets in the way they choose To ensure that Julia, Kate and Sophie make the most of their individual budgets, their United Response support workers make sure that they can afford to fund their favourite activities.For Kate and Sophie, this means being able to go horse-riding and take part in sports.The friends have been able to use their budgets to achieve flexibility with their support, grow a wider network of friends and participate in activities in their local community.The budget has also given the ladies more 1:1 support and therefore an opportunity to develop their skills – for example, all three receive three hours of daily support between 7 and 10am, an expense that they share, paying for one hour of support each. How they each use their 1:1 support Kate uses her 1:1 time to tidy her room and, each time she does this, she is given £5 in cash from her budget, which is looked after by staff, so that she can put it away and save towards buying nice things for herself. She loves to shop but this is an effective way for her to learn how to earn, save and spend money carefully.Sophie uses this extra 1:1 support to volunteer as a waitress in the local village centre’s café.Julia has used her support to help her develop confidence skills and, following a systematic confidence-building programme, she can now travel by bus independently. She also raises money for an emergency foreign aid charity by taking part in sponsored walks and holding a stall in the local market. Valued members of the community All three are members of a local charity group called SAFARI, which is open to anyone with learning disabilities, where they take part in social events such as quizzes, discos and day trips to the seaside, and also participate in the annual carnival, for which they have previously won best entry to the parade.The flexible person-centred support provided by United Response enables Julia, Kate and Sophie to take control of and live their lives in the way that they choose.Laura Cook, web and digital communications assistant.Find out more about how we support people with learning disabilities, or make a support enquiry.