The importance of community work

The importance of community work

“From my own personal experience and life journey, realising I have ADHD and autism later on in life has meant I’ve always felt like an outsider looking in at life. I know I’m human but not feeling like it, not understanding why it was so difficult. I had no confidence in myself and had resigned myself to the fact that this was how it was just going to be. The world scared me and I had nothing to add to it. I rarely left the house, I wouldn’t even go to the shop across the road. I didn’t have a job or a social life and I wouldn’t speak to friends for months on end. The only people I saw on a regular basis were support workers.

Eventually, a support worker asked if I knew what it meant to “find your community” but I didn’t understand what that meant. When they encouraged me to join get2gether, I was instantly made to feel welcomed and accepted. I felt that I had qualities to contribute. I felt respected and valued. I started to learn about intersectionality and being seen and valued for all the different parts that make you who you are. Having the chance to recognise and explore my place within both the disability and the LGBTQ+ community is a huge part of myself that is very important to who I am. Discovering these parts of myself have been so important to me, my growth and realising my potential and my worth. I feel like I’m counted, a lot more confident and it grows every day. I feel like I’m seen for who I am and part of something bigger – a feeling of ‘we’re all in this together’. 

Community work makes people feel included, valued for who they are and that they do matter. Being part of a community means having a wider support network through shared experiences and gives people a sense of  purpose, feeling less alone and contributing to something bigger. Community work can improve mental health, reduce isolation and bring people together. It can open up access to opportunities they never thought they could possibly have or be able to achieve, gaining valuable skills that can be used throughout their lives.

For me, when I think about my identity, the whole song is really important but I also hear each instrument individually – my queerness, my disability, my upbringing and connection to class all add value and beauty to my overall character. I feel the same about communities and the way they are made up of beautiful individual people. If one instrument were missing it wouldn’t be the same community, for the song to be really powerful, each instrument has to be valued.”

Natalie Kernaghan McCaughey, get2gether Ambassador

Find out more about Ambassador Natalie here.

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