At a recent meeting of the Community Voice, the group decided that it would be good to have profiles of members on the website. We thought this would be a good way for people who don’t know our organisation to hear more about what we do and what our members are like. The Community Voice group decided on a list of questions that would be good to ask members – including questions about themselves, autism and about I AM.
David has been a member of I AM for just over a year – he volunteered to be our fifth member to be interviewed for a Member Profile. David was interviewed by one of our Trustees Dr Debra Bradley.
Member profile – David Stewart
David is 64. He was brought up in Droylsden. When he was 7 he was knocked over by a motorbike and had a serious head injury which caused brain damage. From being at school David always knew he wanted to be a gardener. He worked as a gardener for Manchester Council for all his working life. He was based at Debdale Park but worked in lots of different parks around Manchester. David is retired now. He volunteered at Tameside Hospital for a year but had to stop because of the covid lockdowns. He used to help out at a coffee morning at his church, sadly this has come to an end. David lives on his own since his wife moved into a care home. David likes visiting friends and family. His dad is 97 and David talks to him on the phone every day and sees him 2 or 3 times a week.
David’s hobbies are drawing and steam trains – he enjoys going to the East Lancs Railway at Bury.
What is your favourite food?
My favourite meal is a roast dinner – I like all the different meats and like to have all the trimmings – stuffing and apple sauce with pork – mint sauce with lamb.
What is your favourite colour?
My favourite colour is light blue – I’m a Manchester City fan. I used to go to matches but now it’s too expensive.
Have you got any pets? – what is your favourite animal?
I’ve not got a pet, but my favourite animal is a dog. I go to a project in Dukinfield called Noah’s ART where they have lots of animals – my favourite animal there is a therapy dog called Moose – he’s a King Charles Spaniel.
What is your favourite place?
I like going to Southport. I go there a lot – sometimes I go on the train from Ashton just for the day and sometimes I stay over. I like to have a walk round and go on the pier.
What is the bravest thing you’ve done?
About 30 years ago I was on my way to work and saw a fire in a house. There was a lady at the upstairs window with a baby. She threw the baby down to me and I caught it in my arms. Then she threw the key down and I opened the door and went in and got her and her dog out. At the time I didn’t give my name because I didn’t want to be in the paper – but I don’t mind people knowing now.
When were you diagnosed with autism? – how old were you?
I was only diagnosed with autism in 2020. I’ve enjoyed my life, but I wonder if it might have helped me if I’d known I was autistic when I was younger.
What is the best thing about having autism?
I think it’s made me a kind person. I like to help others, because I know how it feels to be different and feel like the odd one out.
How long have you been a member of I AM (ASGMA)?
The service that diagnosed me as autistic put me in touch with I AM. I’ve been a member since February 2021.
What is your favourite group / activity at I AM?
I like the drop-in on Wednesdays. I enjoy doing drawing, playing games and talking to people. I also like the days out – I enjoyed the barge trip and the big day out to Blackpool Pleasure beach.
How would you describe I AM to someone who hasn’t heard of it?
I’d say they’d enjoy coming and meeting people. It’s a nice place and the staff are lovely.
How has I AM helped you?
It’s been good making new friends at the groups. It’s also helped me to understand about autism and how it affects me. I have a Key Worker who supports me with things like filling in forms and other tasks that I require support with.
What would be different in your life if I AM didn’t exist?
I wouldn’t have as much understanding about autism, and I wouldn’t have met other autistic people. I’ve made new friends at I AM – so I wouldn’t have as many friends.
Is there anything else you want to add or that you wanted to talk about?
I really enjoy being part of the I AM community.
If you would like to be interviewed for Member Profiles you can find out more about what’s involved by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org You don’t need to be a member of the Community Voice group to be interviewed.