My name is Richard Lawrence. I work for Mencap and my job role is Project Support Assistant and I have worked for Mencap for 7 years.

I would like to tell my story about how I know my friend Mehmet and my partner Esther from school.

20 years ago I knew Mehmet. I also knew Esther 19 years ago, we all went to the same school.  

I remember the time when I first met Mehmet. He helped me with my spelling and I asked him how to spell Wednesday and he spelled it for me and I said thank you to him and I said to myself he is very helpful.

Mehmet is always there for me through good times and bad times.  He makes sure I am ok and also he phones me and I do the same for him and we also use Facebook to talk. He is like a brother to me and sometimes we have good banter and a good friendship. Me and Mehmet also like going to the pub and going to the cinema when we hang out. Esther and Mehmet also gave me a lot of good support when my mum passed away which is an important part of friendship and relationships.  

The first time I knew of Esther was at lunchtime from school but we didn’t mix; only was it when we went to the same day centre. When I got to know her, I kept forgetting her name, so what I did was re-introduce myself again to Esther and she told me her name.

I always help Esther when she has problems and give her support. I also try my best to understand her.

8 years later on May 21st 2008 I remember a time my mum knew we were hanging out together a lot. She predicted that Esther would become my girlfriend. I thought it wouldn’t happen. 

On that day Esther asked me out. I was shocked because my mum got it right and I was saying to myself how did my mum know that? 

We both go to the cinema, HMV, Cex, shopping and other places. We also have the same friend Mehmet.

Both of us like the same things but one thing Esther doesn’t like is football. It’s good to be able to share different hobbies like football with Mehmet and Esther going out for food and stuff.

We all go to the social club every second Friday. We have fun and have a laugh; we also mix with other people in the club. We feel very included in this club because they always get us involved in anything, for an example doing quizzes, talking to us, playing games. Mehmet also goes to the same social club as me and Esther so a lot of time to hang out together.

Carol and Paul are in charge at the social club. They are very lovely people and down to earth. They always have time for everyone and if you have any problems they always keep things confidential.  

Mehmet and Esther are both important in my life because Mehmet is a very good friend and we have lot of respect for each other.  Esther is important because she is a good partner and for putting up with me for 8 years.

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