Group of volunteers talking around a table
Group of volunteers talking around a table
Communication is key to running a small charity

Communication is probably one of the hardest things to get right when running a small voluntary charity. This is especially true when you only meet physically a couple of times a week during group sessions involving members and there never seems to be the time to discuss the admin tasks or organising the next event.

While making time for face to face meetings are vital and we try to do it often we’ve found that we’ve been able to plug a lot of past communication gaps by using Whatapp groups. …


Three years at Pride

For three years now we’ve been walking in Belfast Pride and this year showed as in every other just how important it is for people with a learning disability to see themselves represented in the main body of the parade, because when every conversation and decision feels like an effort to get your own voice heard especially in the area of sexuality and relationships how much harder is it to actually come out as part of a sexual minority. …


Our members and our parents have known for quite some time that our volunteers are amazing. After all with being a completely voluntary charity it’s our volunteers who run the activities, organise outings, source toys and materials, think up projects, mentor console and guide, and just generally be there when life is a bit rough.

Our volunteers also know that our team of volunteers are brilliant. Often described as a family we wind our way through each others lives: cheering each other on when times are good and holding each other up when life gets a bit hard.

Without our…


When I signed up to speak at this year’s World Congress honestly I knew little of what to expect apart from it being a conference for self advocates of people with a learning disability and that attendees would be coming from a all over the world.

I’ve spent the last three days listening to stories from around the globe covering issues that sometimes could have come from down my street and others thankfully don’t exist within the UK anymore. I’ve been humbled at the strength and passion of each speaker often speaking in a second language and the lives that…


Mencap reckon that there are 1.4 million people living in the UK with a learning disability, defined as a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities which affects someone for their whole life.

The Office of National Statistics (2015) recorded the self identifying LBG community as 1.5% of the total UK population. Combine those two statistics and it works out as around 21,000 people across the whole of the UK who have a learning disability and who self identify as being either gay, lesbian or bisexual.

At Carrickfergus Junior Gateway we try to build confidence, self esteem and freedom…


Such a small amount of time yet can perhaps mean so much

What do three hours mean to you?

Perhaps it represents half a day of work — the block between arriving and lunch or between lunch and leaving.

Perhaps it’s the only time you get to spend that day between coming home from work and your children going to bed

Perhaps it’s the length of that film usually never seem to get a chance to watch

For our members?

Perhaps it’s the only time that week not in school they can be away from their parents

Perhaps it’s the only time that week that they get to have a…


Space — we all need it. Those quiet moments in the day where you can be alone with your own thoughts or the personal time for just you and your partner to just be together. However what if you have a learning disability? Statistics already show that young people with a learning disability don’t have much socialisation time. Where does your personal space come from then — especially if you only see your partner at the local social club? Personal time in a crowd — sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it. People watching you — always. Expected to be part…


God is everywhere. In the stars in the sky, in the depths of the sea, the leaves on the trees, the silent places in churches lifted up to Him but mainly in the hearts of his people. Everywhere, calling out to him in every moment. Lifting their lives to Him in thanks for everything that He has done for them and everything that He means to them.

God is love. For every tear shed, for every peal of laughter that rings out- God is there, sharing our joy and pain in equal measure. …

Jackie Pollock

Advocate for learning disabilities and mental health. Technical Consultant @KainosSoftware, and passionate about my faith, books and coffee

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