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, about autism and about I AM.
Peter has been a member of I AM for over 30 years – he volunteered to be our second member to be interviewed for a Member Profile. Peter was interviewed via Zoom by one of our Trustees Dr Debra Bradley.
Member profile – Peter Bibby
Peter is 49 years old and lives on his own. He has a brother, but he lives in London, so he doesn’t get to see him very often. Peter was raised in Marple, Stockport and went to Cambridge University, where he did a degree in Natural Sciences – studying Material Science and Metallurgy.
After his degree, Peter sadly had an autistic burnout and hasn’t been able to work in the science sector since. Despite this, he worked in the voluntary sector for a number of years at FoodCycle, a charity that uses food that would otherwise go to waste to make meals for people in need, and where he has committed over 400 hours. Peter, also volunteers at a café in the university precinct. He says that volunteering is good for his self-confidence he likes feeling that he is contributing and helping others.
Before covid, Peter was involved in several research projects into autism – both in Manchester and in London.
What is your favourite food?
I don’t have one favourite food – I like lots of different things. My favourite meal would be a roast chicken or roast turkey dinner.
What is your favourite colour?
I don’t have a favourite colour.
Have you got any pets? – what is your favourite animal?
I’ve got a pet cat called Daisy. She is 17 years old but when she saw the vet for a check-up recently, he said she was very healthy. I’ve had her since she was 3 years old. I also like dogs – but wouldn’t want to have a dog as they are much more responsibility.
What is your favourite place?
Home is my favourite place. I’ve got everything thing I need and I feel very comfortable there.
What is the bravest thing you’ve done?
I think the bravest thing I’ve done was overcome alcohol addiction. I haven’t had a drink for 12 years now.
When were you diagnosed with autism? – how old were you?
I was diagnosed in 1988 when I was 15.
What is the best thing about having autism?
I’ve got a very keen eye for detail. When I was at Cambridge University, I noticed a discrepancy in some lecture notes that no-one else (including the lecturer) had noticed.
How long have you been a member of I AM (ASGMA)?
I first joined in the 1990s when the building was in Eccles and you were the Autistic Society Greater Manchester Area (ASGMA) . I was a member of Aspirations when it first started. When I first joined, members didn’t have to pay for activities. I had a break for a few years when charges were introduced but re-joined about 3 years ago.
What is your favourite group / activity at I AM?
I like the pub nights – I go to the Manchester and the Trafford nights. I also like the Friday group, but they meet quite early and I’m not a morning person – so I sometimes join them later.
How would you describe I AM to someone who hasn’t heard of it?
It’s good to meet and socialise with other autistic people.
How has I AM helped you?
I AM gives me things to do and helps me to meet more people. It means I don’t spend as much time on my own and gives some structure to my week.
I’ve also had some 1-2-1 sessions from I AM. They have helped me with different things like appointments and applying for jobs.
What would be different in your life if I AM didn’t exist?
I attend some activities and groups run by other services but if I AM didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have as many things to do and wouldn’t have met so many people.
Is there anything else you want to add or that you wanted to talk about?
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.