A profoundly deaf Derby student has moved into his first independent home at our Castleward development in Derby.

Stephen Crofts, 25, recently moved to Castleward after his parents Linda and John bought the two-bedroom apartment on his behalf.

Stephen Crofts who has recently moved into an apartment at Castleward, Derby.

Last year, Stephen moved out of his family home in Doncaster into halls of residence at the University of Derby. However, as the only deaf student living in his building, it became clear this lifestyle wasn’t right for him.

Stephen is registered with Derby Social Services Deaf Services, part of Derby Social Services, who came to assess the apartment.  They advised on modifications he needed as a deaf person living alone, such as to the fire alarm and doorbell. After attending the Royal School for the Deaf and now the city’s university, Stephen is expecting to stay in Derby for many years.

Stephen’s Technical Theatre course mostly takes places at Derby Theatre, which is only a short walk away from Castleward.

Stephen’s experience

“I’m thrilled to have moved into my first apartment, it’s something I’ve always wanted! We chose the ground floor apartment as it was the smallest property available and I wanted somewhere I could manage. It has its own entrance and large windows so I can easily keep an eye out for visitors and deliveries.  It also has the best view over the square where I love looking out over the open space.

“It’s a really well-designed apartment. I love having the second bedroom to use as a study and it’s brilliant having two bathrooms.  And there’s a utility room with plenty of space for a washing machine and storage.

“We couldn’t believe our luck when we saw Castleward; it felt made for me! The development has a real community feel to it, with little local shops and eating places. Everyone here is really friendly and helpful too; people are moving in all the time and a great community is coming together. Now lockdown restrictions are lifted I can go to the shops at the Derbion centre, as I only live five-minutes’ walk away.”

Linda’s experience

Stephen with mum Linda, who bought the flat

Mum Linda,  a senior education lead at Health Education England, said: “It’s important for young deaf people to gain independence.  In the short time Stephen’s been living alone I’ve watched his confidence grow in managing all the activities associated with independent living.

“I feel so proud of him. I believe our job as parents is to prepare our children to live independently, even if they still need support. If he needs a break, he knows he can come home for a bit, recover and recharge.  Then he can go back to his flat when he’s ready.

“Our experience with Compendium Living has been excellent. The sales executive, couldn’t do enough for us, she was just lovely.  The handover was brilliant too and at a time when we could book a sign language interpreter for Stephen, so he really understood it all. Stephen met the area site manager early on too, who was always keen to help out. They were both really helped to ensure that Deaf Services had all the information they needed to make the modifications to Stephen’s apartment.”

The Derby Telegraphy featured this story as part of Deaf Awareness Week 2021.