I got involved with Mencap two years ago through my local Mencap group, Barnet Mencap.
When they told me about the opportunity to become a Young Ambassador, I wanted to be a part of it. Being a Young Ambassador involves going to presentations and events to promote to the public about Mencap and learning disability. Not many people in the public know what a learning disability is so it’s important to raise awareness.
After six months as a Young Ambassador, I started to join in with other volunteering roles at Mencap with the Corporate, Digital, Media and Campaigning teams. Whenever there is an opportunity to get involved, I like to take part. I play football with the Mencap football team, I like ten pin bowling, I like to socialise with friends and Mencap colleagues after work like go for some drinks and have a chat. I like to do that because it makes me feel part of the team, included. Any person with a learning disability has the right to go to the pub and socialise with friends.
At the moment I work at Wetherspoons one day a week. My role is Floor Staff, that involves taking food out to customers, clearing tables and making sure the pub area is clean and up to standard. I’m looking for other jobs to get more hours. I would like to work in retail or office admin in the future.
I would like to be more confident, sometimes I hold back myself and don’t get fully confident. When I’ve been doing jobs previously and work experience I found it a bit hard to understand so I needed some help and direction. I think it is good to try and learn new thing that you’ve never done before. I like to give things a go and if I don’t like it, that’s okay.
My hope for the future of people with a learning disability is to make sure they are getting into employment. A lot of people with a learning disability don’t get the chance to be able to get a job. People should offer them a work trial or work experience so they can develop their skills and tell their employer ‘I can do this as well’. It's important that they are not left out. Us people with a learning disability can also do that job. Everyone has the right to be treated equally and not discriminated against. Discriminating against a person is not fair and it’s really wrong.
To anyone who doesn’t understand learning disability I would say - look at the information on the Mencap website there is lots of good information about learning disability there.
Photo credit: Rankin
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...