Happy, independent, loves cars and has a famous second cousin

Being born in the 1940’s and having suffered brain damage at an early age, any thoughts of having an independent life must be a long way away.

Maurice Corbett, a 72-year-old from Balsall Heath originally wanted to be a car mechanic, or sell cars... but being only partially sighted, that was unlikely to happen. 

Supported by a loving family, Maurice’s interest in cars remained through his life, even diagnosing a fault with the engine in his dad’s Morris 8 during a trip down the motorway for a family holiday one year. “I had a bet with dad that I was right about what was wrong with the car – I won the bet and £5!” said Maurice.

Work for Maurice has been varied, helping with a milk round, then as a dustman and working in a factory sticking labels on jars. At 16 he started attending a day centre in Harborne, and then lived in various supported living homes before moving to Millward Place, a supported living scheme run by Focus Birmingham.

Since moving to Millward Place, just over 3 years ago, Maurice is enjoying a new level of independent living. A couple of times a week, Maurice and some of his friends cook and eat together, congregating in the modern and welcoming central hub of the home. Feeling happy, settled and doing well, Maurice has his own flat as well as the company of good friends and neighbours, like his friend Bess who lives in flat no 5 next door.

Maurice is also fortunate to have access to specialist support from Collette and the team at Focus when he needs it. He said “it’s nice to be here, to have company, to go to bed when you like and then feel safe, Collette calls me and Bess “Auntie and Uncle” ...living here is like being with my family”

Maurice has always maintained close links with his extended family, in fact his second cousin was the late Harry H. Corbett, best known for his co-starring role as the long-suffering Harold in the popular BBC TV sitcom, Steptoe and Son.

“He gave me and my sister fifty pence each! – that’s all we ever had from him” chuckled Maurice.

It’s clear that life at Millward really suits Maurice and that the other residents are happy too, a fantastic example of the amazing and supportive work done by Focus Birmingham for people living with Low Vision.

In partnership with Bromford Housing, Focus Birmingham provide 24-hour care and supported living for people living with visual impairments at Millward Place in Kings Norton, Birmingham.