Dave volunteers as a Travel Buddy at Bangor Bus and Train Station and is available if a person with a learning disability wants some support and advise on using public transport. Dave makes sure they have the right bus or money and advises drivers if they are unsure on how to respond to a person with a learning disability. The Travel Buddy scheme is set up by Volunteer Now and Dave also advises and supports other Travel Buddy volunteers.
Dave says he likes the Travel Buddy work: “I love going on trains, buses and supporting people to use public transport and be more independent, keeping an eye on them and making sure they are ok. Trains and buses are a bit of a hobby of mine and I enjoy it."
I would say to people always listen to the person if you think they have a learning disability, just take your time and don’t rush them. Here I am, see me for everything I am and everything I can be
Dave is also a volunteer youth worker with a youth club in Bangor and has always been interested in youth work, but is most proud of his work with mencap in their Youth Forum. In the future he hopes to get paid work as youth worker, he said: “I have always wanted to be a youth leader, all the volunteering experience means I might be ready for paid work and I have also done lots of college courses as well.”
The Here I Am campaign is to raise awareness of learning disability and what it is, Dave says that people need to be more understanding. He also added that the campaign is a good way for the public to understand more about learning disability and be more relaxed around someone with a learning disability.
He says: “People just don’t see me or take their time with me, I might talk too much or stutter at times, but it’s about time that people had more respect for people like me who have a learning disability. I would say to people always listen to the person if you think they have a learning disability, just take your time and don’t rush them. Here I am, see me for everything I am and everything I can be.“
Got questions about learning disability? Who better to ask than someone who has a learning disability!
We got Aeren to answer some questions. Take a look at the chat to hear her thoughts and experience of having a learning disability...