People's Stories


Meet Shawn.

A lovable 36-year-old raised in Twizel who flats with three other guys his own age and has a collection of gold medals that he is super proud of. 

Shawn competed in the swimming at the Special Olympics last year where he won one gold, one silver, and two bronze. He’s already training and planning to go again in 2021.  Shawn also works for a local gardening business five days a week; he loves it so much he started growing one of his own.


Meet Jesse.

A social 27-year-old born in Timaru with a cheeky humour and a strong sense of determination. Jesse was born with cerebral palsy, but he has never let it stop him. He communicates with his dynavox computer, moving a cursor with his knee.


Meet Todd.

A vibrant 23-year-old who grew up by the beach in New Brighton and loves to explore, the kind of guy who’s almost always smiling.

Growing up he gave his Mum and Dad a hard time because he was always running off to find new things, and a decade later, he hasn’t changed much. He’s super curious and will examine almost every object in a room. He loves his freedom, the feeling of the wind on his face and having lots of room to move.


Meet Justin.

If he isn’t working out, he’s working hard.  Justin doesn’t recognise words or numbers, but navigates life using colours and logos. He works at Healthy Harvest in Prebbleton and loves being part of the wider community.


Meet Abbie.

Abbie is a 20-year-old young woman who was born and raised in Christchurch.  Abbie has a disability and severe epilepsy and has been supported through the Community Living service at Brackenridge full time since March 2018.


Meet Simon.

Simon never misses Thursdays with mum Ann-Marie.  It’s a highlight for them both with a morning at the gym topped off with an iced coffee at their favourite café, Silverbacks in Cashmere. Simon has an infectious grin which hides a wicked sense of humour.  A photograph of Simon and his sister shows him pulling the well-known face from his favourite movie ‘Home Alone’. It’s a favourite on his Facebook page.  He happily slurps the last of the cream from his iced coffee.


Maya has a stunning smile that lights up the room as she signs enthusiastically to those around her – often giving the thumbs up sign and giggling while wielding the paintbrush with aplomb.

Taking a break from her painting, she runs outside into the dappled late afternoon sunlight to make the most of the surrounding fragrant herbs and flowers, and can’t resist climbing up a nearby tree to get a better view.


Like many men his age, fifty-seven year old Wayne has already planned and begun his ‘bucket list’.

Having never been in one before, at the top was to take a helicopter trip – Wayne ticked that off on a sunny day in March.


Andrew enjoys a visit from his parents but it’s his dad he’s particularly looking forward to seeing. He’s already organised to help cook him LUNCH on Friday.

At the Brackenridge shared home, support person Kay joins in the banter while carefully applying hair dye on Janet like a seasoned professional. “Janet wants to be a redhead, so we’re going burgundy,” she declares.


On a beautiful afternoon, Ann walks around the garden of the Upper Riccarton home that she shares with housemates Karen, Lorraine and Vicky, soaking up the last of the autumn sunrays.

It’s been a lovely long summer which meant many trips to the swimming pool for Ann, and she’s excited about still being able to go twice a week to the heated one at the Selwyn Aquatic Centre.  Ann enjoys floating freely in the water and many comment it is when she looks happiest.