My Life My Choice
My Life My Choice is a user-led Oxfordshire based self-advocacy organisation. We raise the self-esteem, confidence and quality of life for people with learning disabilities by providing training, employment, volunteering and social opportunities for our members. Here are some of their stories…
Case Study: Dawn, Travel Buddy trainer
I became a Travel Buddy to help people get independent. I think it’s important for people to be independent.
I buddied a woman in Carterton for 3 journeys. The first was a walk to the Ice Centre Youth Club. I walked her from her house to the centre and back again. I think she was a bit nervous because she didn’t talk very much. We did that 3 times and then she could do it herself.
Then we went by bus from Carterton to Witney, where she works. I did that twice and then she went on her own and I met her in Witney. You should have seen her face when she got off the bus—it just lit up! She was so happy.
Then I walked her from her house to Morrison’s. She already knew the way—she was showing me! She does everything by herself now.
I’m really happy that I’ve achieved something by helping her. She is now a much more confident traveller.
Case Study: Paul, Trustee
After experiencing a nervous breakdown I thought my life was ending. I was isolated and I was put in contact with My Life My Choice. One of the first projects I was involved with was Stingray Night Club.
I saw the need because people with learning disabilities can get intimidated in normal night clubs. They can become isolated because there are not enough places to socialise. Our night club provides an opportunity for them to get out and form relationships.
Through working on projects at MLMC I have learnt a lot about the learning disabled community. MLMC helps people develop their courage to speak up. We work as a team and help each other with problems.
I am a trustee of the charity. I think this is important because we get to support others with learning disabilities and help them to have a voice.
I have also been part of many other projects, sat in meetings and conferences, and interviewed other organisations and service led groups. I am currently working as co-chair of the Oxfordshire Transforming Care Partnership board and I am very proud of what I am doing as now I have a voice and I’m helping more people.
If I was not a part of MLMC I would be bored at home and maybe getting myself into trouble. If I had the money I would be gambling and drinking. If anything ever happened to this charity I would be gutted. I would not be the same without this charity.
Case Study: Shaun
My name is Shaun, I have cerebral palsy and I am 28 years old. I also have epilepsy. I joined My Life My Choice just over one year ago after having problems with my confidence.
I started as a travel buddy. I then started doing Power Up training. In the beginning I was a bit apprehensive because I didn’t know what it was all about. After a while I became more confident in my ability to do presentations. Power up training is very important. On some occasions I have been teary eyed at the end of the presentation because the videos we present are really moving. They make me realise how bad hospitals and staff can be and I am proud to help that change.
MLMC has given me the encouragement to go out there and do what I want to do, without worrying about people saying no. I am proud that I am able to get my opinion across.
Shaun sharing ideas with health professionals
Through MLMC I have been part of the learning disability project board where I have been working with the NHS and Council to come up with a model that makes sure vulnerable people are cared for properly and don’t die of neglect. I have become an expert by experience because people value my opinion so much. I will be going into Assessment and Treatment Units to do reviews. This will hopefully give the people reviewed a chance of a better life.
I went to London and I was a co-chair for a National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) conference. I had to guide people on when to stop talking and make sure they were ready for the next session. It was a massive responsibility and in the beginning I was apprehensive and nervous. But once I got going, I was so confident I couldn’t stop.