Hello! My name’s Kirsty and I have a learning disability . I feel proud of myself for getting where I am in life today. But without Mencap’s support, I’d feel so lonely, frustrated and left out.

At school, I got called nasty names. That made me feel like I wasn’t like other people. I was told I wouldn’t be able to have friends and that really upset me. Friends are so important. That was around the time I needed a heart transplant. Before my operation, I was teased about my height because I was small for my age. It made me feel sad.

But now you should see me. I’ve got my own patch in the garden at my Mencap group that me and my best friend share. It’s like a raised bed that has a bit in the middle where you put the water in. We can grow lettuces, beetroots, potatoes, blackcurrants, mint… Lots of different things. Without Mencap, I’d be stuck at home with nothing to do.

I’ve got lots of friends too at my Mencap group! Everyone’s always chatting to each other and making you laugh It’s good for me. It’s like a family. Everyone greets you. Everyone’s friendly. We chat about what we’ve done at the weekend mostly

I love planting and growing stuff. It’s good because you get to eat it after! You’ve got to wait a little while, but it’s worth the wait, and I eat healthier now. Before I ate lots of chocolates and sweets.

Mencap means so much more to me than just gardening, they have even helped me get my maths qualification. It was hard at first, but when I got into it, the lessons got easier. 

A woman standing outside next to a raised flowerbed with colourful plants.

Kirsty at the Me Time gardens in Nottingham

And even though I was told I would never get a job, I now have one! I work in a pub, taking food orders and collecting plates. I’d like to get trained to work on the tills and handle money. I feel more confident to do that now.  

It’s not fair that people with a learning disability don’t always have the opportunities to grow their skills and confidence, and be happy. I hope, like me, you got to enjoy seeing the outside world transform this Spring.