I’m a director of cleaning company A Clean Sweep – I have to make sure people get their wages and are doing their jobs properly. I was involved with A Clean Sweep since the beginning. A Clean Sweep is an office cleaning company run entirely by people with a learning disability. At the moment there are 17 members and we're supported by Mencap's Bristol Pathway service.
A Clean Sweep started in 1995 when I went to a local daycentre. Some Mencap staff came to have a meeting with everyone to see if we would like to have a job.
At first, I wasn't sure, so I waited until the following October before I began work with the company as a cleaner.
When I was cleaning, I worked at a local special needs unit, cleaning the kitchens and day rooms. I also cleaned at a local business centre. Those were the only two contracts I had, before the doctor told me that I couldn't carry on cleaning because I suffer spasms in my arms.
It was upsetting because I enjoyed working. I called the rest of the group together and asked them if they'd like me to leave, or if there was anything else they'd like me to do. The group said that they'd like me to take down the minutes for the meetings we have, so I did some admin training and got my NVQ in office work.
At our annual general meeting in 1997, we were asked if we would like to put our names forward to be a director, or to vote for people who we thought should be a director. I was voted in as a director and asked if I wanted to do the job, and I said yes.
As a director, I have a lot of responsibilities: I have to make sure that everyone is doing their job properly and listening to what they're told. I have to sign the cheques to pay everyone's wages. And I have to make sure that we're cleaning to the best standards possible.
Every Friday morning at 11 o'clock we have a meeting with all the staff to talk about any issues that have come up during the week. For example, someone might have a problem with a cleaning product, or an issue with cleaning a particular room.
Before A Clean Sweep I had a few other jobs; I worked at a nursing home, in my parents' shop, and in a nursery. Having a job helps me to be independent, because I like to be independent. It's good to get a job because I'm working in the community helping other people, and it's what I enjoy doing.
Outside of A Clean Sweep, I'm part of a drama group called the Misfits Theatre Company. We've put on shows in Exeter, in Plymouth, in Taunton. We do different types of theatre, including comedy or plays about health to help with training. We've done shows for doctors and nurses, and we've done shows for people who support people with a learning disability.
And I'm also in another drama group called People Rhythm, where I work with another lady to teach drama. We work with people from 16 up to 25 with a learning disability and together we've done three plays. At the moment we're waiting for some more funding, then perhaps we can do another show.