Full steam ahead

February 24 2023

Being supported by Livability has enabled Andrew to live his dream – working with trains. In the latest of our blog series, we shine a light on how people supported by Livability are able to tackle barriers through empowerment and employment.

Andrew has always had a passion for trains. For years, his Christmas treat was to ride an express train with his father, who has now sadly passed away. When Andrew, who has a learning disability, moved into Livability Northfields in Somerset, he told his key worker David about his railway passion. David spent time getting to know him and was sure Andrew had potential to unlock much more independence in life.

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Supporting growth and development

In keeping with Livability’s goal of enabling the people we support to continually learn and grow, David arranged a trip to a local heritage railway for Andrew, because David thought this could be something that would open doors for Andrew. ‘After our visit, Andrew told me he wanted to work there, so I started to think about how we could make that happen. We visited a few times and Andrew got to know the station-master and volunteers.’

Supported by David, Andrew became one of the team at West Somerset Railway, joining other volunteers to keep the station spick and span and receiving very positive feedback. When Andrew said his next goal was to become a guardsman, David first took the guardsman course himself and then supported Andrew through the course. ‘One of Andrew’s proudest days was getting his affiliation as a guardsman and his guardsman’s badge,’ says David.

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Andrew’s work coach Shirley says: ‘Andrew has contributed a lot to the team at the railway station over the past year. He has been doing various duties including opening up the platform waiting-room and putting items out for our visitors. He has gone from strength to strength and welcomes our visitors, as well as being helpful in the café. He is now a valuable member of our team.’

Andrew is brimming over with enthusiasm about his post at the railway: ‘I cannot wait for the station to reopen in March 2023 [for the season] so I can find more strengths and also new skills.’ His favourite jobs are ‘opening up the platform and putting signs out. I like working in the shop – I’m helpful.’

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