Gerard's Story

My Work

I work two days a week, 9am to 5pm, in the County Council Offices in Kilkenny, as a Receptionist. This is a job that I really enjoy and suits my strengths as I am an outgoing person and I always enjoy meeting people. I enjoy being useful. I enjoy being helpful and it’s good to be appreciated and valued. I really enjoy getting to meet more people.

I have worked in this job for 6 or 7 years and got the job through a work experience placement organised by the National Learning Network. I now have a permanent job in the Council. SOS, my family and the County Council support me with any changes or challenges in work.

I enjoy my coffee breaks in the canteen in work. This gives me a chance to meet other work colleagues and there is always somebody to have a chat with. We also have a Social Club where we go on outings. We also do things like bingo and bowling.

I go for lunch in the same restaurant the two days that I work in town and I have made friends through this. I enjoy the banter with people especially about the hurling and the sociability of it all.

 

My Social life

I have a busy social life which I organise for myself. I meet up with a friend every Monday evening and we go to the cinema together. Sometimes we head off for a day trip to Dublin and other spots.

I have a regular Social Club that I attend on a Wednesday evening and I enjoy this too. We might watch TV, chat, sometimes we go out for food and music or bowling.

I get great enjoyment from my involvement in sports. I play pitch and putt and bocce in the Special Olympics. I have done this for the past 20 years. We train every Tuesday evening and sometimes at the weekend, coming up to a competition. We enter a league every year and we meet the same people year after year and also make new friends. It’s nice to catch up. We might win the league this year.

 

Self-advocacy

I have become more involved in self-advocacy work over the last few years. I am on the SOS Advocacy Committee in my day centre. I have also done some work with Inclusion Ireland. This is important work to me as I feel the opinions and voice of people with disabilities needs to be heard and this is my chance to be involved. It has also helped my confidence and I feel that I am part of decision-making processes for people with disabilities and that other people are just not deciding for us, that we count and need to be heard and listened to.

 

My Supports

I am happy living in Kilkenny and have become part of my community through my family, where I live, SOS, the County Council and my social life. These are my supports that help me make the best choices for my life so that I live it to my full potential.

I love working in SOS and I am happy to go there during the week. My Supervisor is great to work with and listens to me and helps me in whatever way he can. I can see the Social Worker at any time and they always take the time to listen to me and also care about my family’s needs.

I live with my mam and my sister also lives nearby. I am 10 minutes from the centre of town which makes access to work and my social life easier for me and my family. I love living with my mam and it’s good to have company in the house. My mam also cooks my dinner for me.

My sister drives me to wherever I need to go. She also brings me to training for the Special Olympics. She also helps me with my clothes and any forms that I need to be filled out.

I am very lucky with my supports.