Livability’s Ability Sunday is all about celebrating the gifts and contribution that disabled people make to the community – but too often, they are not given the opportunity. Farah doesn’t let her disability stop her taking part, and the community where she lives in North Wales is the richer for it.
Farah and Bethan have been working together for two years. Bethan is manager of a busy charity shop on Llandudno’s high street, in North Wales, and Farah volunteers at the shop once a week.
Farah’s autism and limited verbal communication could have meant that her many gifts were overlooked. She works hard at social skills although she doesn’t appear to engage much with what’s going on around her. But Bethan sees beyond this and values Farah’s skills and commitment, as part of the shop’s team.
Farah works in the shop’s stockroom, hanging clothes that have recently arrived, ready for steaming and pricing before they go out on the shop floor. Two years in, Farah is a confident, reliable worker and Bethan says having ‘an extra pair of hands once a week’ makes a real difference to getting new stock out: ‘Farah just gets on with it, emptying the basket and getting everything hung up. She’s very capable and is a great help – she’s part of the team.’ Farah says she loves the work ‘because people get neatly steamed clothes’ and she likes being part of the friendly team at the shop.
Farah, who has volunteered in many contexts over the years, also helps out in a team which runs the volunteer café at the local hospital, along with other people who attend Livability Conwy’s day opportunity in Builder Street. Helping to shop for lunch for the Builder Street crew is another way Farah enjoys contributing.
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‘Farah is gifted and busy,’ says day opportunity manager Iris Barlow. ‘Giving to others is important to her as it develops Farah’s social skills, to work as part of a team in providing a service for the community. She’s got many talents to offer, including computer skills, organisation and playing the keyboard. When people like Bethan invite disabled people to come and use their gifts, everyone benefits.’
If you would like to find out more about how to get involved with Ability Sunday visit: www.abilitysunday.org.uk