Why Lads’ Pad Made It Onto Film

Chris Pownall and Simon Mash are just like any other lads in their twenties – finding their feet after flying the nest, learning how to manage their own money and what to do with a toilet brush. But Chris and Simon have special needs. They were never really expected to be able to fly the nest or live independently, but things are starting to change and as a film premiered last week showed.

Michelle Savage or Shelly Telly, a Norfolk-based filmmaker, gave the boys some instructions and their own camera and left them to make a film about why they wanted their independence and how life in their bachelor pad worked out.

The result is a 15-minute documentary showing the boys, often with the key worker and friend, Adam, washing up, playing music and generally behaving as most young men do when armed with a video camera.

Simon Mash, 25, said: “I moved in with Chris because he’s my best mate. I just like having my own place because it’s mine.”

Shelly hopes that the film will encourage other young adults with disabilities to try living alone. She said: “Many are very unhappy living in care homes or even with their parents. They want to be independent just like everyone else. Simon and Chris are very inspiring young men. We wanted to show how this type of supported living could enable people with learning difficulties to live in their own homes – that’s why we called the film It’s My Home because all the way through that came across as the most important aspect.”

Michelle was really pleased with how the film turned out: “I really didn’t have to do that much editing at all, they did really well. The only stipulation I made was – I don’t want three hours of you two singing – because they are both very keen music fans.”

Funded by a grant from the Norfolk Learning Difficulties Partnership Board, the film looks at the different housing options available for people with learning difficulties and will be used to show people with learning difficulties the range of options open to them.

The film will also be used to show policy-makers and people working in housing and social care the options available. It also makes the point that they need to think creatively about the housing needs of people with learning difficulties.