I love Stepping Up. I like my friends and the staff and I enjoy going to Highbury Theatre and going on stage.

Gary is 33 years old. He has a learning disability and epilepsy as well as social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. We first met Gary when he started coming to our Moving On Youth Club about a year ago. He had previously found making friends extremely difficult due to his inability to judge social situations. Gary’s parents explained that he had become increasingly isolated following the end of his formal education and a decline in the number of youth groups available for young adults with disabilities.  

Gary started to really enjoy the weekly sessions and would tell us how much he looked forward to Youth Club, watching the clock at home until it was time to leave the house.  Gary really benefitted from the opportunity to chat to his peers in a relaxed atmosphere and his confidence grew as he started to express himself through song and dance. 

After a few months Gary joined our Stepping Up programme 2 days a week and has continued to thrive. With his newfound love of performing, Gary has taken part in 2 theatre shows, performing on stage to over 100 people. His social skills have flourished too and Gary particularly enjoys our weekly trips to a local garden centre where he happily chats to his peers and can now independently order himself a drink.

Having previously found it difficult to make friends, the real turning point came when Gary recently expressed how much he liked everyone at Stepping Up and had found a new best friend, Charlie. Whilst Gary has the gift of the gab, Charlie is non-verbal yet this wonderful and unlikeliest of friendships is a real milestone for Gary in terms of his social development and emotional wellbeing.   

Help a young person like Gary today. Just £5 could pay for the transport of a group of young adults with learning disabilities. Donate now.

For more information about our disability services, contact Claire on 0121 354 5614 or clairejelf@ymcasc.org.uk.