A rural care community in Cornwall has come up with a novel way to support one of its residents who has autism – by building him a new home from a former chicken shed.

Due to his condition Simon, 29, found it difficult to live around other people. As one of 14 residents at Highdowns, near Camborne, which is run by independent care provider Regard, this was a daily challenge.

“Simon’s condition means things we all take for granted, such as being around other people, were just too much for him,” said Jenna Betts, service manager at Highdowns. “He found it difficult to live in close proximity with other residents as it made him anxious.

“We knew communal living was putting pressure on Simon and we desperately wanted to do something to support him.”

Then Regard’s operations team came up with a solution – converting a chicken shed on the site into a new home for Simon.

“It seemed a bit left field, but the more we thought about it, the more we realised it might be just the solution we were looking for,” added Betts.

“It wasn’t too far from the 3 other residents’ properties on the site, but crucially had its own space.”

When asked about the idea, Simon thought it was “brilliant”.

It took four months to convert the outbuilding into a home for Simon, complete with kitchen, sitting room, bedroom and bathroom. Simon was involved in the project at every stage and even helped with the building work.

He is now celebrating his first anniversary living in his new home, known as Roosters, and says he is very happy.

“I like it because I can play my music as loudly as I want,” he said. “I have my own space and like not having other people around me. I like to practice on my CD mixer in my own home.”