Bring him home!

Brenda knows him very well

And so does Amy too,

Gary was good friends with him

When they were at school.

They haven’t seen him for a while

Someone said he’d moved away

Then Gary met Pete’s mum

In the town one day.

As she spoke to Gary

She stood there and cried

And explained that Pete

Was now living far away.

Gary listened carefully

But said he didn’t understand,

Why Pete had to move

So far away from home.

Then through her tears she tells him

Pete pushed her down the stairs,

She ended up in hospital

And everyone was scared.

So then there was a meeting

To decide where Pete would go

And it was agreed that Pete

Would move out of his home.

Pete didn’t like these changes

It made his behaviour worse

And then one day she heard

That Pete had hit a nurse.

Then Pete was moved further away,

Now it’s hard to keep in touch

That was two years ago

She misses him so much.

Gary starts to say goodbye

And just as they are leaving,

Pete’s mum turns back to say,

“Next week there is a meeting,

I’m hoping Pete can leave there

And move back to this town

I know that he wants

His friends and family around.”

Gary is upset

As he walks back home,

All that night he thinks about

What Pete is doing now.

Then the very next day

When he’s at the Green Gates centre

He talks about where Pete is

With his friends. Amy and Brenda.

Brenda says, “it’s so upsetting,

I hope Pete gets out of there,

Is this what it means,

When they talk about Transforming Care?”

 Gary looks across at Brenda

And says “I’m not sure,

But we’ve heard these words at meetings

Many times before.”

So they go to the computer

To find out what this means

And search for information

That is easy to read.

They sit and read together

All about Transforming care,

What it is and what should happen

In their local area.

So when they go to their next meeting

They have some questions ready

To ask why someone like Pete

Is still living far away.

Gary explains Pete’s a friend of theirs,

And he’s lived here for many years,

When Gary has finished talking

Many people are in tears.

But now 3 months later

Nothing much for Pete has changed,

He’s still living far away

Because nothing yet has been arranged.

There are lots of talks about funding

And finding the right care

To make sure that Pete is ready

To move away from there

And while Pete is waiting

To move back to his home town

There are many more people like Pete

If you ask around.

So do you know how many

People from your area

Are waiting just like Pete

To get the right support and care?

And how much do you know

About Transforming Care

To make sure people live the life they choose

In your local area?

©Karen Murray2017



For more information about Transforming Care visit;

Good Friends


Amy first met Brenda when they were at school,

they sat near each other in class and lunchtimes too.

Brenda was often bossy but Amy didn’t care

because Brenda helped her, she was always there.

Amy was the quiet one, she didn’t like the noise

of car alarms and sirens, people whistling, children’s toys,

mobiles ringing, people shouting, fire alarms and bells,

party poppers, ice cream vans, washing machines as well.

So Brenda made sure Amy was safe when she felt scared

and she knew just what to do, she was ready and prepared.

Brenda knew the noises Amy didn’t like at all

and knew Amy felt better, when she put her hand against a wall.

Now they are much older, lots of things have changed,

they share a house together and are still good friends.

Although Brenda often argues and she can be quite loud,

Amy is just happy that Brenda is still around.

Amy always listens to the things that Brenda says,

she knows when Brenda’s angry and she knows when she is sad.

She knows when Brenda is unhappy or if she needs a hug

And Brenda knows when Amy needs a wall to touch.

Good friends are so important, they’re friends because they care,

They choose to be with you, to listen, help and share.

So, have you got a good friend, someone you like a lot?

What could you do to let them know that you like them very much?

Stranger at the door



At first Amy was afraid

She was terrified

When the man knocked on her door

And asked her to come outside.

Amy couldn’t answer him

She couldn’t say a word

So the man spoke even louder

He thought Amy hadn’t heard.

The man stepped back and

Then, he pointed to the roof

Told Amy it needed mending

And here was the proof.

He said now if you look up

At your roof you’ll see,

There are some roof tiles missing

I can mend these easily.

But you will be in trouble

If you don’t mend these now,

The next time that it rains

Your roof could fall right through!

Amy was really worried

She didn’t know what she should do

Her house mate Brenda was away

There was no one to speak to.

The man said, I can do this,

It won’t cost you much,

I will need one hundred pounds

And I’ll mend it before lunch.

Amy thought about the money

Brenda kept inside the jar

She had saved this money up

But Brenda wasn’t there.

So Amy went inside her house

Looked in the kitchen cupboard

She found the jar there on the shelf

And counted out the money.

The man smiled when he saw Amy

Who handed him the money

Said he would mend the roof now

There was no need to worry.

Amy went back inside her house

She looked out and saw the man

Go across the road and then

Drive off in his van.

She was sure he would be back

To do the work he promised

But he was never seen again

This made Amy very worried.

Amy was in a panic

When Brenda came back home

She didn’t want to tell her

That her money was all gone.

It was later on that night

When Brenda went in to the cupboard

Amy heard her screaming

And knew what she’d discovered.

Brenda turned to Amy

And asked her about the money

When Amy told her about the man

Brenda said this is not funny.

They phoned the police together

Amy told them what had happened

Amy described the man she saw

And that he drove off in his van.

Brenda was really angry

That Amy had lost her money

Even though they are good friends

She was upset with Amy.

So never give your money

To someone if you’re not sure

When you don’t know the person

Just make sure you close your door.





















Keep it to yourself

Brenda knew she shouldn’t give her credit card PIN number to anyone but he was such a nice man.  She liked his hair and the way he smiled at her.  When she was with him, Brenda forgot all about personal safety and the things she learnt on the keeping safe course. So who was this man and why did Brenda give him her credit card PIN number?

…it’s a cold and windy Monday morning as Brenda walks along Magnolia Street on her way to the bus stop. As she waits to cross the road, Brenda thinks about her best friend Amy.  Even though Brenda is off to town on her own today, she feels really happy.  The best thing about today is that she will get to spend time with Gary and Jack on her own.  When Amy is with her, all Gary wants to do is talk to Amy. He doesn’t want to hear what Brenda has to say.

When Amy found out that Brenda was going to meet Gary and Jack without her, Amy was upset.  Brenda reminded Amy that she couldn’t go because she had to go to her independent living course. Amy tried to tell Brenda that she didn’t want to go but Brenda wasn’t listening.

??????As Brenda crosses Magnolia Street, she can see there is already someone waiting at the bus stop. Brenda knows lots of people who use this bus and she likes to talk to them.  Walking quickly, she tries to work out who it is waiting at the bus stop.

When she gets nearer, Brenda is surprised that she doesn’t know this man.  He looks really nice and Brenda knows she would have remembered him if she’d seen him before.  As he sees Brenda walking towards him, this nice looking man takes his mobile phone out of his jacket pocket and then turns away from her.

Brenda stops at the bus stop, puts her bag down on the floor and watches him.  He starts to walk away from her and begins speaking on his phone but Brenda can’t hear what he’s saying.

Suddenly he turns round, stands still and looks at Brenda.  She smiles at him and is thinking about who he looks like, when this nice looking man starts to speak.

“Do you know how long the bus will be, I’ve been waiting ages?” he asks her.

“It will be here soon,” Brenda tells him, then quickly goes on to say, “my name’s Brenda.  Where do you live, I haven’t seen you before?”

He looks down at Brenda and then at his phone as he tries to work out what he should say.

“Andy, my name’s Andy” he says as he puts his phone into his jacket pocket.

Before he has a chance to say anything else, Brenda tells him that she lives at 81 Magnolia Street with her best friend Amy Cooper.  She is about to say why she is going to town today when Andy tells her that the bus is coming.

As they wait for people to get off the bus, Brenda looks through her bag for her bus pass.  She knows this bus won’t be very busy today and makes up her mind that she will sit next to Andy.  Brenda needs to find out more about this nice looking man.

Andy pays the driver and starts to walk down the bus past lots of empty seats. Brenda has already shown the driver her bus pass and is not far behind him.  Finding a seat, Andy sits by the window and is about to get his phone out of his pocket again when Brenda sits down next to him.

“Look at these,” Brenda says, as she starts to get some of her key-rings out of her bag.  Brenda has lots of key-rings and she loves to show them to people.  She puts them onto her lap and describes them to Andy as the bus starts the short journey into town.page51

When Brenda takes another two key-rings out of her bag, her purse falls on the floor. Andy reaches down and picks it up off the floor and is about to hand it to her when her credit card falls on his lap.

He looks at the card and then at Brenda while she is still telling Andy about her key-rings.

“Oh, thanks,” Brenda says to Andy, “this is our credit card and we use it to pay our bills.  I’m not really supposed to keep it in my purse.  Amy doesn’t know I’ve got it with me,” she explains.

Andy tells Brenda that she should keep it safe because someone might steal it.  He gives the card back to Brenda and she looks up at him and smiles.  Then she takes a piece of paper from her purse.

“Look,” she says “I’ve got the PIN number written down so I don’t forget it. People need to know this number before they can steal our money. I know because I’ve done a money skills course.” Brenda explains.

Brenda knows she shouldn’t tell anyone but Andy is such a nice man so it is alright to tell him this number. She’s glad Amy isn’t with her because Brenda knows that Amy would remind her that she shouldn’t tell anyone their PIN number.

Andy looks out of the window and starts to get his phone out of his jacket pocket.  Brenda is still talking about her key-rings and stops when she sees Andy has his phone in his hand.

“Who are you phoning?” Brenda asks him.  As Andy taps his phone, he says that he is not phoning anyone, he’s just checking for messages.

Putting his phone back into his jacket pocket, Andy tells Brenda that he is going for a job interview today and he doesn’t want to be late.  Brenda really wants to ask him more questions but Andy starts to stand up and tells her that this is his stop. Holding on to her bag, Brenda stands up and Andy moves quickly past her and off the bus. She calls out to him and he turns to wave at her.

Looking out of the window, Brenda watches Andy crossing the road as the bus drives off into town.   She can’t wait to tell Gary and Jack about him but Brenda decides she won’t tell Amy.

Walking quickly, Andy takes the card out of his pocket as he makes his way to the cashpoint.  This is going to be a really good day.


page46Brenda asks you these questions:

Who was I going to meet in town?

Why didn’t Amy come with me?

Why did I give Andy my PIN Card number?

Where was Andy going?

What do you think will happen next?




Why write a story for and about adults with a learning disability?

amy, jack brenda and garyWhen Amy met Gary in town recently, she was surprised at how much he’d changed. It wasn’t just that he was older but there was something else about him that was very different. When they met up, Amy found out that Gary lived in the same street as her and Gary told Amy more about his friend Jack. Amy couldn’t wait to tell her best friend Brenda all about Gary and the group he goes to called Stronger Voices.

This is the story of four adults with a learning disability and although fictional it’s based on the lives, and experiences of people I have worked with and know well.

Why aren’t there are actors with a learning disability on T.V.? Why don’t shows like Coronation Street or Eastenders have adults with a learning disability in them?  These were just some of the questions some of the people in the group I  was working with asked me one evening.

I agreed with them that there should be more actors with a learning disability on television, films and on the stage and continued to think about this on the way home that night. I thought that if I could find a novel which related the lives of people with a learning disability, we could discuss some of the issues the stories raised.

The night after our conversation, I began my search certain that there would be plenty of great books out there written for adults with a learning disability. A quick search led me to a number of books written for children and adults with autism, Asperger syndrome and physical disabilities but nothing for adults with a learning disability. Surprisingly, after many months of searching, I still couldn’t find a single novel that was written specifically for and about adults a learning disability.

My frustration at not being able to find the book I wanted spurred me on until one day during a long search on the internet, an idea for a novel started to develop. The four main characters, Amy, Jack, Gary and Brenda who all live in Magnolia Street began to take shape and I started to plot out the story.

As I started to write, the characters although fictional, seemed very real to me and their stories interspersed with moments of humour add a realistic tone to the book. I decided to include questions at the end of each chapter to encourage the reader to reflect on the story and discuss some of the issues the characters face.  There are also colourful illustrations throughout the book which is written in a style that is easy to read.

When Amy met Gary is the first book in the Magnolia Street series and early on I decided that the only way to get this book out there was to When_Amy_Met_Gary__Karren_Murray_Book_Coverself-publish. You can now buy this novel either through my website or direct from York Publishing Services.  Although this is a book written primarily for and about young people and adults with a learning disability it is a book that can be read and enjoyed by anyone.

I want this blog to be a place where I can include short stories about the four main characters and focus on specific issues.   What would you or someone you know like to read about in the Tales from Magnolia Street blog?  I welcome any comments and ideas for future stories, you can comment via this blog or my website