"LinkAble meant Duncan was around staff who understood him and his needs and ran activities in a way that he could join in". Duncan currently works four days a week at a social enterprise and volunteers one day a week at a charity shop. What he has learned at LinkAble over the years has helped him become confident enough to do this" , says Sue, Duncan's mum
For over 20 years Duncan Robertson and his mum Sue have benefitted from the activities LinkAble has, and continues to offer people with learning disabilities. Duncan started coming to LinkAble when he was 7 years old. He had been enjoying horse riding activities at his school and when he had to move to another school, Duncan and his family were eager for him to find a way to continue this. Duncan was able to carry on his horse riding as one of the activities LinkAble offered at the time. Furthermore, it introduced him to the groups and other activities provided by LinkAble.
For Duncan's parents it was reassuring to know that their son was able to meet up with friends in a safe and supported environment where he could be himself. Sue says 'It was important for Duncan to meet people and go where his friends went, and LinkAble offered that. Duncan began taking part in other groups like swimming and it felt so good to have found somewhere he could join in.
As a result of attending LinkAble over the years Duncan's confidence grew and his social skills improved as he transitioned through the different age groups. It has helped him learn how to travel on trains and he has developed this into using them on his own to get around. Duncan has been part of groups that have gone on ski-trips and days out. For Sue she knows that when he does these activities he will be safe and taken care of because it is LinkAble supporting him.
She adds, 'Prior to joining LinkAble Duncan had tried mainstream groups and they didn’t work for him. It has given me peace of mind that Duncan goes to LinkAble groups where he will be taking part in activities that are nurturing for him in an environment that is friendly and accepting. Over the years Sue is in no doubt about importance and the positive impact LinkAble has had on her son. When asked what the benefits of attending LinkAble have been, her answer is 'Duncan has become independent in ways that enhance his life as a result. What the charity has given Duncan in terms of life skills has been a big part of this. For that I am extremely grateful and proud of what he has achieved.'
She also adds, 'For me personally, LinkAble has been important in building a network of other parents and carers who can share information and ideas'.