#1 My Story
Updated: Apr 25, 2019
When school finished I ended up going to college to do a hairdressing course. On my first day there I walked into the college and thought this is going to be the worst day of my life. I didn’t know where I was, it was a massive building. There was very little support for me even though they said they would help. I'm sure they only had one support teacher for everyone who did hairdressing. I had two days in the college and one day work experience in a salon where I mostly swept the floor.
I asked my Mam if I could quit loads of times but she said “No. If you quit what are you going to do?” So I looked at shop jobs and that but couldn't see myself doing those either. So, even though I did’t like it, I stayed. I had a plan in my head about what I wanted to do after college if I completed hairdressing. But they just weren't able to offer the support that I needed and at the end of the first year I just couldn't go on. So I left.
Over the next 2 years I didn’t do very much apart from going out with family. I spent most of my time in my room while my friends from around me went to college or got jobs. I felt lonely. So, I taught myself how to use social media and used it as a way to stay connected with people who I went to school and college with and family. I looked for other things to do but couldn’t find anything. Existing support services just didn’t seem to care.
Then one day someone suggested that an organisation called Liberdade might be good for me, so we arranged to go along and find out what it was all about.
It was strange at first. It was a very different environment from the one I had gotten used to. I’d gone from just my four walls to being around people. But everyone who I met was fun. There were people who I could talk to, which felt good. They told me what I could expect from being at Liberdade if I came full time.
"When we do a project we’re asked how are we are going to be involved, you make a commitment and stick to it. Everyone relies on each other. You feel part of something, I care about it. If you don’t try your not just letting your self down you letting everyone else down too."
The staff talk like they care and they want to help. They understand me. It’s very different to being at college, in a good way. Being around people who are in the same boat as me has helped me become more confident. The things we do and the way we are with each other, it’s kind of like being in a family.
I don’t take part in the shows that the company does because I don’t like being in front of an audience. But here, that’s ok. Instead of it being a problem it’s like “Well, how can you get involved in what were doing? What are you interested in and how can you use that here.”
There are lots of jobs involved in putting on a performance and I’ve taken those responsibilities - I work backstage, do peoples hair and make up and organise props and costumes. I’m not a performer, I’m there to make sure everything goes smoothly. I’m as important as everyone else.
I have also taken on the responsibility of promoting the work that Liberdade does though its social media - Facebook and twitter accounts. I’m also developing the news page on the companies website. Since joining I could see myself becoming a member of Liberdade helping out, having a job. I get the chance to do the things I'm good at but I'm also encouraged to do things that I find more difficult. So for me that would be things like, talking in a big group. I’m getting better at it. Slowly. But I understand why it’s good for me to do that. I’ve tried being in front of the camera but I prefer being behind it. You need to try new things.
We don’t just do the same things over and over again. Your up doing something good everyday. I’m interested. I’m motivated. I want to take part.
When we do a project we’re asked how are we are going to be involved, you make a commitment and stick to it. Everyone relies on each other. You feel part of something, I care about it. If you don’t try your not just letting your self down you letting everyone else down too. You come here to work not just sit around and do nothing. For some people getting themselves here on time is a big thing, for others just taking part in a group activity is massive. Everyone has their own milestones to reach.