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.
After lunch he’s off with his mum to deliver the The Star on his regular paper round which he fits in around other work as a volunteer for the Red Cross’ Meals on Wheels, and gets to indulge his passion for lamp and light design, helping out the team at a nearby Lighting Plus store.
His personalised programme is so varied it allows him to consider a number of vocational and recreational activities – especially those which really appeal to his interests. Flatting with three other men in their 20s and 30s in North Christchurch means there’s never a dull moment but this time is just for him and Mum, catching up on the family events and discussing some of his new pursuits – he’s just joined a choir and recently went to the Simply Red concert.
During the week he’s sharing experiences and household tasks with his flatmates, assisted when required by dedicated support staff. All men are involved in a range of activities, such as flatmate Jesse who is a regular visitor to motor racing and rugby games. Ann-Marie speaks fondly of the core Brackenridge team looking out for the guys – especially as they’ve all been a close group for several years and provide highly trained support, assurance and reassuring routine.
Weekends though are all about family and Simon regularly helps host Saturday night ‘happy hour’ and dinner parties with friends. "He’s got expensive tastes", Ann-Marie explains. "He likes the finer things, including good food and good music, such as jazz.”
Simon’s tastes are definitely eclectic and refined and when not listening to his CD’s and singing along, including to the percussion breaks, he’s out with his support team at garage sales looking for various pieces of design to curate into his bedroom display.
Like many 20-somethings, coffee outings remain a favourite social pastime and Simon’s no different, brandishing his cafe loyalty card – even down to his coffee-soaked choice of special birthday dessert last week. “Tiramisu,” he beams.