Making life a little bit easier

Josephine Metcher, 42, suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and is often in a lot of pain and uses a cane and mobility scooter to get around. Her disability made finding suitable accommodation more difficult, but with the help of Aster she’s now living in a one-bedroom ground floor flat and has been a customer for 12 years.

After a relationship breakdown Josephine found herself living alone in Oxfordshire miles away from the help and support of her family in Hampshire. She applied for temporary accommodation, hoping that would speed up the process of moving nearer to her support network.

While she waited for a suitable property she spent time living with both of her sisters, firstly in Bournemouth and then in Romsey. She slept in their living rooms because of her disability and lived like this for around five months. Josephine recalls: “It was a really difficult time, especially with being disabled.”

Her mum suggested that she spoke to the local council to help her find a property, and they successfully found her temporary accommodation from a private landlord. Josephine stayed there for two years while she looked for a more suitable permanent home and with support from Test Valley Borough Council, she found a property that she could call home.

“I felt alone when I moved from Oxfordshire. I was scared and had no idea of what the future would be like. Getting support from Testway Housing really helped me and it was a massive relief moving into somewhere that would be my own.”

Josephine moved into her flat in 2006 and has been living there ever since. Although She remembers the time as stressful in the beginning, Josephine has an ever improving relationship with Aster and puts this down to the current staff. She said: “Aster have stepped up. They have helped me with anti-social behaviour issues and having staff that I can build relationships with really makes a difference.”

Due to her condition and the anti-social behaviour she has experienced, Josephine is now hoping to move to Romsey to be even closer to her family.

She’s grateful for the support she’s received from Aster especially as living alone can sometimes be a challenge. She said: “It’s stressful living with a disability, everyday activities are a struggle and it takes me a long time to do things.”

“Over the last five years in particular Aster has proven to be a very good support and I feel very lucky to have my family and people at Aster to help me when I need it the most.”

“My life is not easy. It can be extremely painful and frustrating but, I am a very determined person and try to never give up. You have to keep going.”