Living life the way I choose, against all odds by Gina Collins
We’re extremely excited to introduce this month’s expert contributor Gina Collins to the Renaissance Legal family. We work alongside Gina through her role at leading charity Mencap and are proud to bring her voice to the Renaissance Legal blog. Over to Gina…
I have a learning disability, but I haven’t let that get in the way of achieving my goals. Here, I describe the vital steps I took to lead a happy, fulfilling life, and why it’s possible for others with a learning disability to do the same.
Getting the education I deserved
As a child, I always wanted to go to the same secondary school as my sister. I didn’t want to be treated any differently because of my learning disability. My parents were firm believers that I should have the same opportunities as everyone else, and they helped to make this happen. Even though it was challenging, I always knew I’d get through it. Everyone with a learning disability should be given that chance.
Fulfilling my potential
When I turned sixteen, I decided to study more and get myself qualified for a career. So I started a Youth Training Scheme in London. I completed all of my courses and that gave me loads of confidence. I felt very proud of what I had achieved. It was very hard and tough at times, but I got there in the end!
Getting involved with my community
One of my biggest passions is helping and fighting for the rights of people with a learning disability, whoever they are. So during my time at school and college, I helped out at my local youth club. I really enjoyed it, especially making people laugh – that was a lot of fun! I got involved in different activities at the youth club, like arts and crafts, where I showed people how to make things, as well as playing pool and running a tuck shop.
My life today
Today, I work for the learning disability charity Mencap in their wills and trusts team. I’ve been here for nearly 20 years, which is proof that someone with a learning disability is perfectly capable of getting a job and making it last. It’s safe to say that Mencap is the nicest place I have ever worked. Everyone here is nice, and I’m encouraged and given the support to develop new skills.
Sadly, people with a learning disability face unfairness in all areas of life. But it’s still possible to achieve goals and live life the way you want to. Mencap have enabled me to do that!
Enjoy life, whatever it throws at you. Make sure you get the most out of it!
To find out how Mencap are supporting people with a learning disability and their families, and how you can get involved, visit www.mencap.org.uk or call 0808 808 1111