University opens doors to learning for Complete client

Fred DunfordA client of award-winning complex care provider The Complete Group plans to carry on learning after being inspired by his Complete Personal Assistants to successfully study for a degree.

Fred Dunford, aged 64, has just gained a BSc Open degree with the Open University and is now looking forward to receiving his degree at a ceremony in October and to completing more courses.

He first began studying for his degree in 2004, a year after suffering a T4 spinal cord injury in a car accident, which paralysed him from the chest down. He became a Complete client in 2003 and now lives independently in Waterlooville, Hampshire, with the support of his Complete Personal Assistant Nijole Sileikiene who provides his day to day care.

The accident left Fred unable to work but he wanted to keep his mind active and was originally inspired to enrol with the Open University because his Personal Assistant at the time had a degree.

Although ill health over the last nine years led to Fred putting his studies on hold at various times, the example of other Personal Assistants with degrees helped encourage him to re-enrol and start again.

The distance learning approach of the Open University way of working – enabling students to read and access online material and tutor support from home and send in assignments by email – suited Fred.

But he also attended tutorials and took exams at Southampton and Portsmouth universities and attended a summer school in Bath, with the support of Personal Assistants who drove him to and from sessions.

Fred said: “The Open University is a great way for people with disabilities to gain more education. I have enjoyed learning new things and intend to carry on – I am looking to complete more courses next year and also hoping to access some funding to help with the costs involved.”

Complete Chief Executive Sally Yandle said: “We are delighted at Fred’s achievement and wish him every success with his studies in the future. Fred is a great example the way we work at Complete is support clients in leading the fulfilling, independent lifestyles of their choice.”

About The Complete Group

The Complete Group specialises in providing complex care to adults and children with spinal or brain injuries and other disabling conditions.

Its approach to complex care provision has won it a place in the finals of the Health Investor Awards 2013, in the Complex Care Provider category, in June. Also in June, the Complete team that won the Care Team category in the Great North East Care Awards will be a finalist in the Great British Care Awards.

The company was also a finalist in the Personalisation and Brain Injury Rehabilitation categories of the 2013 Laing & Buisson Independent Specialist Care Awards.

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