Hi, I'm Anna, the Project Manager for Our Social Networks (taking over from Laura Harris who left the project in June 2018).
I have been settling in to the role and have loved getting to know the team and learning all about the project.
About my work
A big part of my job is to collect stories from people with a learning disability about their friendships and relationships.
I have been visiting groups across South Wales to tell them about the project and to see if they might be interested in getting involved. I have been meeting with people in their homes, their favourite cafe and even at Cardiff Central train station to record them talking about their relationships.
We have heard some lovely and funny stories from best friends and couples about how they met, what they enjoy doing together, and their first kiss!
We have also heard about some of the challenged of dating when you have a learning disability as well as lots of stories about bullying in school.
As well as collecting stories, I support Alex, our South Wales project officer, who has been busy working with Cardiff Story Museum. Alex will be sharing more about his work in his own blog post later this month.
Our events so far
We want to challenge some of the attitudes and assumptions about people with a learning disability by sharing clips from some of the stories that we have collected, in pop-up exhibitions around Wales.
This year we held 4 pop-up exhibitions, in Bangor Wrexham, Abergavenny and Treorchy. They all took place in community venues, including a cafe, leisure centre and arts centre. The public were invited to come and list to some of the stories collected so far. Several people told us how moved they were by the stories.
We also held some events to promote the exhibitions, which included an hilarious storytelling event, where people shared their real life stories from disastrous dates, a fantastic karaoke session, where we sang our favourite long songs; and two seminars, where people working in services were invited to listen to someone the work being done by Mencap around sex and relationships.
We plan to hold 4 more pop-ip exhibitions in 2019. But we need help to do this, so part of my job is to try and find volunteers in all of these areas.
We also need help to summarise and transcribe the stories collected. So we are running a programme of workshops for volunteers in the new year, which includes free training from St Fagans and the People's Collection Wales.
If you, or someone you know would like to get involved please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Social Networks aims to collect the stories of friendships and relationships experienced by people with a learning disability in Wales.
Find out more about this project and how you can get involved.