“The challenge is keeping yourself occupied, especially when you live on your own, and trying to keep in contact with people.”
I had a wonderful video call with Richard to find out what he’s been doing during lockdown, and what a packed schedule he’s had!
“I’ve been doing some paintings, I have, because I like paintings, I do.”
Here, Richard nipped off camera and came back to show me these wonderful paintings!
“It helps me relax sometimes, you know.”
“Once you get into the painting it takes you into a different world sometimes.”
“I’ve been doing my exercise you know, just walking around.
“I’ve been doing some WhatsApp calls with my mum and my brother, I have, in an effort to keep speaking.
“The organisation L’Arche, which I’m part of, have been doing activities by Zoom. We’ve been doing Makaton signs and we’ve been doing some yoga.
“We’ve had a few meetings because I’m the Co-Chair for the Assembly For People With Learning Disabilities In Lambeth and the Chair of the Forum For People With Learning Disabilities In Lambeth.”
But he’s also been helping other people get through lockdown.
“I’ve been putting messages on Facebook, just to talk to people and just to reassure people that we’re all in this together really. And it’s not just this country, it’s around the world it is.
“I think people have enjoyed these…Someone said they thought my messages were better than the Prime Minister’s messages.”
By doing this, Richard has also felt good and proud.
“It’s made me feel good to know the community.
“I think the first one went to about 1000 people…A lot of people have been watching them.
“Yea, it’s a good way of getting to talk to people”
And keeping up with his advocacy work is very important to Richard.
“I do like being a spokesperson for people with learning difficulties.
“We need a voice so people can hear what we’ve got to say and all that. And not to just stick with the majority.
“They must hear what we’ve got to say. It’s important.”
And on this very important note, we ended our conversation and I thanked Richard. Not just for taking the time to talk to me but for all the wonderful work he’s been doing to help himself and his (now online) community.