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'We've helped 500 live more independently'.

A HOUSING provider for people with learning difficulties has celebrated its 25th anniversary.

First Choice Housing, which has more than 160 properties, is the only organisation in Wales which solely provides housing for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs to live independently.

Set up in 1988, First Choice Housing celebrated its 25th anniversary last week at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay where 500 balloons were released by AM Mark Isherwood.

Each balloon represented one of the 500 people helped by First Choice over the last 25 years.

Tenant Lydia Baptiste, 69, moved into a First Choice property in Whitchurch more than three years ago.

She previously lived in supported accommodation on Tremorfa but its location on a main road meant she wasn't able to live as independently as she wanted to.

Lydia said: "Life is much better now - it's so nice to live within walking distance of the shops and cafes in Whitchurch."

The social landlord's acting chief executive David Hedges said: "We have a commitment to the dignity and involvement of our tenants, ensuring that they feel entirely involved in the decision-making process."

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| Tenant Lydia Baptiste with Sharon Gronland, customer services advisor at First Choice
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 3, 2013
Words:201
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