I like to go out. I mainly go to the pub, or to cafes, or to the cinema or the theatre. Going out allows me to have fun in my life.

I believe that everyone should be able to do this, and have fun, regardless of whether they have a learning disability.

I have a personal budget which is provided by my local authority. This money allows me to do some of things that I enjoy, like going to the theatre, or to the cinema, as well as visiting my family. Sometimes I have to be careful and save up this money if there is a specific event that I know I would like to attend.

I live in London, which is an expensive city, so I also try to make the most of attending free events. For example, the V&A Museum, which is free to visit and has lots of interesting exhibitions. Mencap also hold some free events, like their Christmas Carol Concert, which I went to last month.

As well as looking out for free events and activities, I try to make the most of any deals or offers that might be happening. Most cinemas offer cheaper tickets during the week, so if I want to see a new film, I try to go mid-week, instead of the weekend.

When I lived in supported housing I used to take part in the social activities that were planned for the residents, such as bowling. I also used to go on theatre and cinema trips, which were sometimes exciting, but now I live independently and prefer being able to choose what I go to see. It’s important to me that I am able to choose what I do, as an independent adult.

When I get together with my family we play board games or go the cinema. Sometimes, for special occasions, like birthdays, I meet them at restaurants. This can be great as it’s a social setting, but I can sometimes find it nerve-wracking as I worry about saying something silly in front of people. However, I’ve learnt not to worry too much about what people think of me, which I think is really important. I also go out with the support staff from my local charity, Centre 404, who help me manage my personal budget and the support I receive. As well as Mencap, they are there for me if I need advice.

I have the freedom to choose what I want to do, and most of the time I enjoy it!

If you’re looking for opportunities to get out and about in your area, Mencap might be able to help! Take a look at our Volunteering webpages, as well as some of projects, like Gig Buddies and Sidekicks. Or, if you’d like more help and advice please contact our Learning Disability Helpline.