My name is Samuel Barritt. I have been a project support worker for Mencap’s Inspire Me programme in the West Midlands since 2011. This is my story about how I gained the confidence to be able
I first heard about my current job at Mencap’s Inspire Me team when I was speaking to the transitions advisor at college. I thought it sounded like a great idea to help young people with a learning disability develop new skills and learn new things. It would also help me learn how to think in new ways.
I was excited when I got the job but also quite worried because I would have to do a lot of travelling. I had only been travelling by myself for a few years so this was something I would have to learn to be independent with.
On my first day I learnt about Mencap and was shown around the office and how to use email. It was one of the most exhausting days ever!
My first workshop was about confidence and motivation, this was at Walsall College to students aged 16 to 19. I learnt a lot from the Coordinator, it was good because I was changing from being a student to a professional.
One of the best memories I have from Inspire Me was doing my first workshop alone with no coordinator to help me. I knew I had a lot of responsibility as I was looking after a group and a volunteer. I had to think how I communicated with the young people to make sure they would learn and be engaged. As the session went on I felt great and in control of myself and the group.
I also found out about an opportunity called the Children’s Commissioner Take Over Day, which lets young people have a say in how businesses are run.
My coordinator and I got other young people with a learning disability involved with office work in Mencap across the country. In Birmingham we had three Young Ambassadors, who are young people with a learning disability that help to challenge negative views towards learning disability, helping with general admin, answering phones and designing a webpage. I had one working with me on a press release to promote the day. It was a great fun day.
After Christmas 2013 I moved over to the Young Ambassador team. It was what I wanted to do and I helped give more opportunities to the Young Ambassadors. We developed a Top Tips booklet to give people with a learning disability advice about everyday things like travelling and money management.
I also got involved in helping another group of Young Ambassadors to work on their Beat Bullying campaign by teaching them how to present themselves while doing a presentation.
There have been many challenges in the past three years such as having to think differently on how I write and do things. I have overcome that by pushing myself and taking it step by step. I also now travel independently on trains and I’m more organised.
Inspire Me has helped me develop skills like talking to different people in a professional way. I have a very big passion to help elderly people and hope to use these new skills to help them in the future.
I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way and, oh boy, what a great time it has been to work with a great project and team!
About Inspire Me
Mencap’s Inspire Me project provides practical activities, training and community learning to give young people aged 14-25 with a learning disability the opportunity to build their confidence and learn new life skills. The aim of Inspire Me is to give young people with a learning disability the chance to change their lives by developing skills and changing attitudes in society. Browse the pages below to find out more about what we’re doing. Find out more at www.mencap.org.uk