The theme for Learning Disability Week 2019 is ‘Community – Active, Connected and Included’. We asked Leeanne Clark, FRSA about what community means to her.
Leeanne is one of the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability’s RSA Fellows.
SCLD – Leeanne, what does Community mean to you?
Leeanne – That’s quite a hard question to think about. But when I think about what ‘community’ means to me, the first thing I think about is where I live. I live in a small village in Fife and I am an active member of my community.
SCLD – So what does being ‘active’ in your community mean to you?
Leeanne – It means to me being independent and being independent is very important to me. I am active in my community in many ways…
SCLD – Tell us more!
Leeanne – I am an active member in my local church; I am a server, a crucifer and a vestry member. I try to go to church every Sunday.
As a crucifer I carry the big cross up and down the aisle at the beginning and end of the service. In my role as a server I help the priest to do communion. I layout the communion things like the communion rail on the altar, the communion plate or ‘paten’ and the communion cup or ‘chalice’. I lay out the priest’s robes before the service in the hall. After the service I rinse all the communion plates and other items.
SCLD – Do you feel ‘Included’ in your community?
Leeanne – Everybody in the church are like my ‘church family’.
I do other activities with my church family like having a Christmas meal together, and in the summer we go on a summer outing. I volunteer at the Scout Group every week, twice a week. This is with the Beavers, who are the younger boys and girls, age 6-8 years old.
I also volunteer with the cubs (boys and girls age 8-10 years) and the Scouts (boys and girls 10-14 years). I love volunteering in my community as it gives me company and I like to help the younger children to achieve their badges.
For me college is a big part of my community. Going to college is important to me to gain qualifications to get a job; getting a job in my community is my next big goal!
SCLD – What about being ‘connected’ to your community?
Leeanne – I feel connected to my community – but more than just connected to one community; community is more to me than just what happens close to home and in my village. I support another community in India. This community is helping young children who have HIV and AIDS, who are orphans and have been abandoned by their family. My friends in the church in Lochgelly and I fundraise for this community in India.
SCLD – Is there anything in your Community that could be better?
Leeanne – Sometimes it would be nice to feel a bit safer. I think this might be true for lots of communities. Some people have addictions to drugs and alcohol and if you meet people this can sometimes be a bit scary. Although a community is there for everybody.
SCLD – What do you think of the theme for Learning Disability Week 2019: ‘Community – Active, Connected and Included’?
Leeanne – I think it’s a good theme to bring people together during Learning Disability Week to celebrate and raise awareness.
*Leeanne is currently working on her debut novel ‘The Real Me’ about her life as a young woman with care experience.