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My life as part of my community – Brian’s blog

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Brian Boardman is a graduate of the ‘Our Future Leaders’ course, and someone steeped in the life of his community in the Scottish Borders. Following the launch of the “How’s life?” Survey report My Community, My Choice? Brian reflects on his involvement in community life, the rewards and challenges to being an active participant in his own community…

“SCLD asked me to talk about the things I do in my community. I didn’t realise how much I did till it was written down! I am an assistant coach and referee for Boccia in the Scottish Borders where I live. I chair the local citizens panel: I am involved with some different groups with Borders Links and Borders Buzz and I volunteer at The Food Train.

I am also involved in trying to get some new things happening like trying to get datesnmates to come to the Borders. If that happens they will link up with Borders Buzz so that everything is joined up.

I would like to see a unit being built for people like my brother, who has more severe disabilities. It would be little individual houses on a big piece of land. So I’m trying to get that done.

I really like volunteering at The Food Train and I’m missing some of the things they did in groups with cups of tea and chat – these stopped because of the COVID-19. I still help out – we do shopping once a week for the old folks and deliver it to their houses. I have to write out a direct debit for them, so they know what they are paying for their messages (shopping) and I’m on the van and I put their shopping away and have a chat. There is sometimes a fight because they all want me for the chat, some of the old ones like the banter and me being cheeky!

I’m the only volunteer with learning disabilities; the reason I like it, is because I’m treated as a person; they treat me like a proper person, but they just give me a wee bit of extra time. The reason I get treated the way I do at the Food Train is that I know the manager and she’s always treated me the way I should be treated. She knows I like to be treated as normal. The person who does the money has a sister who has a learning disability. She’s got a lot of respect for people with learning disabilities.

Where I live there is nothing much on at the weekends for me to go to, so I help other people at the weekends. I go in and visit other people to see how they are. I pop in for a cuppa and a chat with friends and neighbours, especially if they are old or disabled. And I FaceTime friends on my phone as well.

I’m currently the chair of the Citizens Panel, I had done 2 years then someone else took over but they stepped down and I’m back temporarily till they find someone else. But there’s other things I’d like to do now instead, because there are new opportunities coming up and it’s not a challenge anymore.

Where I live, things are pretty good, I have good neighbours, folk to look out for. I couldn’t ask for any more.

Since doing the SCLD and Inspiring Scotland ‘Our Future Leaders’ course, I’m starting to look at things differently. Folks have pulled me down in the past, but doing the Future Leaders course has made me realise there’s more to do and I’m always looking for opportunities. I would just like to make things better.

The town I live in is good for respecting everybody.  Not like another town I used to live in where there was a lot of discrimination. The Food Train is the only thing I do every week that is for everybody, but I’ve joined local things and gone along to stuff I’m interested in. Like there was a social at the rugby club with someone playing the accordion. I went along expecting some discrimination but I was accepted as I am and there were other people with learning disabilities there too. Everyone was treated well.

Where I live, things are pretty good, I have good neighbours, folk to look out for. I couldn’t ask for any more.”

Brian Boardman

You can read the final two reports from Scotland’s “How’s Life?” Survey on SCLD’s Resources & Publications page.