Matthew finds his faith
Matthew is a local man with a learning disability that has been living in Mencap supported living services in Warminster for many years.
Mencap have supported Matthew with many different aspects of day to day life for several years.
Matthew recently lost a dear friend to him. "He was my best friend and encouraged me and motivated me to get involved in things in the Christian community. I lost my best friend in November 2010 as he was taken from us suddenly. I lost my motivation and did not want to get involved with things without Sam, but I knew that Sam would want me to carry on and achieve."
Back August 2011, with the help of his Mencap support team, Matthew decided to start a bible study group for people with learning disabilities.
"My faith was strong and I wanted to share this with others. I discussed my ideas with a Mencap support worker. She supported me to make contact with a local pub called the Masons Arms and they kindly provided me with a venue to hold my group."
The first meeting was a great success and Matthew has been holding meetings weekly ever since. The meetings are attended by five to six people with learning disabilities from the Baptist Church that he attends.
"We read passages from the bible and hold discussions about the passage and ask each other questions."
Having faith has led Matthew to many other opportunities. "The last thing my friend Sam wanted me to do before he died was to go to Spring Harvest". Spring harvest is the largest Christian festival in the country and is held in Minehead each year.
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Matthew attended this in April 2012 and is hoping to go next year and be a volunteer.
With the support of the team from Mencap, Matthew also got the opportunity to become part of an event held at the baptism church this year called Prospects, this event gave people with learning disabilities the opportunity to come and explore what the church has to offer while taking part in craft activities and drama groups.
"My biggest achievement for 2012 was to be welcomed into the congregation on 8th January where I was baptised in the presence of my family and fellow church goers.
"My future goal is to increase the number of people attending my bible study groups and to help organise more events in the community and within the church for people with learning disabilities. "
Mencap is the largest provider of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability in the UK. The range of services Mencap provide also includes leisure, housing, respite, advocacy, education and training services.
For more information about becoming a support worker, supported living and other Mencap services, please visit www.mencapdirect.org.uk or call Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111.