Derby student with impaired hearing moves into first home with help from family


A profoundly deaf Derby theatre student has moved into a home of his own at Compendium Living’s Castleward development in Derby city centre, where he is able to live independently.

Stephen Crofts, 25, recently made the move to Castleward after his parents Linda and John, 60 and 61, bought the two-bedroom apartment on his behalf. Late last year, Stephen moved out of his family home in Doncaster into halls of residence at the University of Derby where he studies Technical Theatre. However, as the only deaf student living in his building, it became clear this lifestyle wasn’t right for him.

Stephen is registered with Deaf Services, part of Derby Social Services, who came to assess the apartment modifications he needed as a deaf person living alone, such as to the fire alarm and doorbell. Derby has a big deaf community and 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 said: “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 a home I felt I could manage. It has its own entrance and large windows so I can easily keep an eye out for visitors and deliveries, and 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 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.”

The train station and Derby theatre, where Stephen’s course mostly takes places outside of lockdown restrictions, are also only a five-minute walk away from Castleward, making the development an ideal place to call home.

Linda, a senior education lead at Health Education England, said: “It’s really important for young deaf people to gain independence and 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 still get regular Face Time calls when he is stuck trying to cook something or dealing with a bill, but I also get told off when I visit for putting something back in the wrong place!

“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 our support. If he needs a break, he knows he can come home for a bit, recover and recharge and go back to his flat when he’s ready.

“Our experience with Compendium Living has been excellent. Clare Hutchings, the sales executive, couldn’t do enough for us, she was just lovely. When the marketing suite was open, I enjoyed waving through the window when I passed by! 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 was introduced to Harry Boyall, the area site manager, early on too, who was always keen to help out. Harry and Clare were both really helpful in ensuring Deaf Services had all the information they needed to make the modifications to Stephen’s apartment.”

Trish Foster, regional sales director, said: “We couldn’t be happier to learn how much Stephen is enjoying his life in his brand-new Castleward home. We strive to make each customers’ buying experience as personalised and stress-free as possible, allowing them to get the most enjoyment out of their home moving journey. At Compendium Living, we put the customers at the heart of everything we do and all of the team would be delighted to offer Stephen support whenever he may need it.

“Castleward is a wonderful place to call home, with all the benefits of city centre living and open outdoor spaces right on residents’ doorsteps. Phase 2 of this popular development is almost sold out and we’re looking forward to beginning works on the third phase later this year, expanding the vibrant new community even more.”

This week, 3rd to 9th May, marks Deaf Awareness Week for 2021. For more information, visit

The Castleward marketing suite is now closed, however the sales executives are taking private appointments on request. For further information and to book your appointment, call 01332 907 995 or visit  

You can also follow us on Facebook at Compendium Living,, Twitter @CompendLiving, and Instagram @CompendiumLiving.

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