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Essex man finds his calling with church volunteer role

20 June 2018

An Essex man with learning disabilities is giving something back to the community with a volunteer post at a local church.

Steven Biggins (left) with Luca Hurley-Grace.

Steven Biggins is a resident of Sanctuary Supported Living’s (SSL) Livingstone House, which provides residential care to people with learning disabilities, and is sharing his story as part of Learning Disability Week 2018.

The 42-year-old first came to the service after discovering that living at other services was not providing him with the kind of support he needed.

Instead, he was referred to Livingstone House, where he worked with staff to draw up a personalised care plan to arrange assistance with managing medications, attending medical appointments and preparing and cooking dinner.

Due to his poor vision, staff also support Steven to access the community, do personal shopping and attend activities like swimming and going to the gym.

More recently, Steven has been volunteering at Harlow Baptist Church for the past five months.

Steven, who used to belong to the church’s drama group ‘Living Stones’ was supported by his SSL key worker, Inga Kasparaviciute, to apply for volunteer work there, as he wanted to give something back to the community.

Steven’s main duties at the church include collecting cups, plates, washing up and drying up – and he greatly enjoys talking to people who visit.

Steven said: “I feel happier now: safe, healthy and active. I regularly attend the evening clubs and activities every week.”

"I really enjoy volunteering at the church – it makes me feel happy; especially meeting and chatting with other people and making new friends."

I really enjoy volunteering at the church – it makes me feel happy; especially meeting and chatting with other people and making new friends.

Steven Biggins, Resident

Inga added: “It’s been rewarding to see Steven develop over his time here; he’s become more confident in social situations and has really flourished.

“It’s wonderful to see him enjoying his volunteering at the church as he is so enthusiastic and has so much to offer.”

Learning Disability Week is an annual campaign by Mencap to raise awareness of issues around learning disabilities. This year it runs from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 June.

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