Manny attended specialist college the Orpheus Centre for three years and has just moved on to supported accommodation. This is his story, in his own words:
“I think what has really helped me a lot and has made me a better person is how much I’ve matured as a man. I used to run away a lot when I got upset and I would also get cross with people and my tutors, I wouldn’t talk to anyone and used to find it very hard to listen to other people’s opinions. I used to sit on the bench outside and stay out in the cold because I didn’t have the confidence, and I was very shy. I didn’t feel that I fitted in very well, and sometimes I wasn’t very good at being able to show when I got cross, and I didn’t express it in a very good way.
Being at Orpheus really helped me to listen to other people’s opinions, even if it was different from mine. It’s given me a lot of confidence and made me feel that I have a voice. It’s changed how I feel about people and how I feel about the world. It has made me into a better person. I am able to not be as cross all the time and control how I manage my emotions. I also talk about how I feel more, which is a lot better for me.
I also feel that I can speak a little more clearly now as well. Being at Orpheus has helped me improve with how I work with people and how I can be more helpful and a great team player. Orpheus has really helped me realize who I am and who I want to be in the world. It’s helped me realize what path I want to take in life and what I would like to do with my life. Orpheus helps people have a voice and helps you to become a better person, which then makes a better world. I feel that before I came to Orpheus, my life was falling apart, but now I feel that I’ve made amazing progress.
About a month ago I moved into Fairways, I was nervous at first because I was worried that I wasn’t going to fit it and settle well. However on my first day I was warmly welcomed by staff members Charlotte and Luke who kindly helped me set up my room the way I like it which made me feel at home and happy.
On my first night I watched a film with staff member, Belle, and sat with my new house mate, Craig, who was playing on his iPad. at the time I was not sure how to talk with him as he appeared to be shy and nervous and I was not sure how to start a conversation or how to join in when Craig was making silly jokes with staff.
Myself and Craig have become close friends now as I’ve learnt how to talk with him as I realised he struggles to hold conversations, I will ask him yes or no questions and use a thumbs up or thumbs down which helps him understand what I am trying to say. I also have fun with him and join in with silly jokes he makes – I think he finds me funny and I think he’s a very funny person too.
At first I thought my other house mate, Thomas, spoke very fast and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to understand what he is saying but now I’ve learnt to just really listen and have fun with him as he is a very kind person. I feel as though me and Thomas are friends now.
I did lots of activities at Fairways during my transition for example, travel training, sea life centre, Thorpe Park, Chessington, lunch out, bowling and cinema which was very good.
If I ever felt overwhelmed I would stand outside with staff and talk it though in the fresh air which helps me collect my thoughts, I feel as though the staff members working here are always here for me and keep me safe which makes me feel at home and happy.
I am looking forward to continuing with the Brighton Film Course and making some more short films. Because of lockdown, my experience with the Brighton Film Course was cut short, so I am looking forward to getting back to this on more of a long term basis. I’m very excited to see what it is actually like to work on a big set.
I’m also really looking to taking part in the Oska Bright Film Festival, in Brighton. I’m looking forward to making a short film and having a chance to work with more people and doing something different. I will also be doing more work with writing, filming and directing a short film and experiencing what that is like.
I am looking forward to carrying on with my exercise and seeing how I progress in life. The advice I can give to someone who is nervous about transitioning is to just be open and honest with staff and talk about your problems with the, because if you don’t your problems will not be solved. It is very important to try and share how you are feeling, remember that staff are here to help and support you! Also, show the staff how much you appreciate them and enjoy living there. Feel confident and try to put worries in the back of your head as everything will work out perfectly in the end!”
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