I feel I have come a very long way in the 25 years or so that I have been getting support.
At first I shared a flat with another person getting support. I was getting support nearly all day, every day for 7 days a week. I eventually got a flat of my own. Now I only get a few hours of support a couple of times each week. I think this shows just how far I have come.
I have been Chairman, first of “The Service User Group” and then “The Involvement Group” for Midlothian for all that time. I have spoken at annual conferences, taken part in all the Summer Games and helped out at numerous events like Christmas Parties, Gala Days, Outings and fundraising activities. My wife and I have also played a very active part in “Midsafe”, an organisation that helps to keep people in Midlothian safe. I have seen a lot of changes and met a lot of people, some good and some not so good. I have been involved in interviewing new staff and I think I have made some good choices.
The biggest change in my life was when I got married nearly 3 years ago. Although my wife was my childhood sweetheart we didn’t get together as a couple until just a few years ago. We met again at a birthday party and I knew straightaway that she was the one for me. We both kept it quiet for quite a while. With the wedding I had a lot of new things to worry about – the cost, being part of a couple after being a bachelor for so long and also being part of a whole new family. It’s all worked out really well although, like every couple, we have our ups and downs.
The biggest change in my life was when I got married nearly 3 years ago.
I’ve always had a job as a gardener and I’m currently volunteering at the Community Hospital garden. As well as picking up lots of tips for my own garden, I really enjoy it.
I know I’ve changed a lot over the years. I now keep very fit by playing football, bowling, swimming, cycling and regularly going to the gym. I know how to prepare healthy meals for all the family and how to run a busy house. As well as all this I also find time to work on my driving test. My wife and I regularly attend and contribute to our local “People First” Meetings. I hardly ever sit down these days – I’m always on the go!