Olivia's big birthday
Olivia, who is supported by Brandon, recently celebrated her 30th birthday. To mark this milestone, she chose to raise money for her local Playlink – our holiday play scheme for children and young people of different ability. "I chose Playlink because I thought all the children there do so many activities and I thought it would be nice to donate," she says.
"Made me think of it because I have worked with children before and using my skills to look after them. I used to be part of the play scheme when I was younger and then I did some volunteering with the staff."
In total, Olivia has raised £1,128.78. "The amount I raised is absolutely amazing and has given me the chance to help them do things in the future," she says. "It feels like I am very proud of myself." The money is going to be used for new equipment and a special trip for the children who go to Playlink, which Olivia will be invited to as well.
Inspiring others to embrace independence
Olivia is really passionate about empowering children and young people with a learning disability to live the life they want. "What I like to do is help other people be independent like me," she says. "Help younger people to make their choices of what they like to do, get a job or just go out to live their own life.
"Because they're part of the Playlink at the moment, it will teach them how to grow each day, by step by step, so they understand how they'd like to become. I enjoy my life doing everything independent. They might want to do the same when they get older and what they want to be."
A busy life and a bright future
The last couple of years have been tough for Olivia, as the pandemic meant that she had to stop working and couldn't see her parents. But, now that restrictions have eased, she's back to being a busy bee – and has no plans to slow down.
"I've got loads of interests. I'm part of the local St John Ambulance and I help to show people how to do first aid. I like swimming, horse riding, fitness – I do lots of things! I like to be busy and making a lot of friends and see all of them. I have a boyfriend called Nino, we've been together for seven years. I would like to live and get married to him in the future.
"I've got two paid jobs at the moment. I'm working with Grimsbury Farm, which is a café, and I'm working with the Oliver McGowan campaign. I had to give the training to key workers, support workers, hospitals, nurses, doctors, so I had to give webinars, face to face, I've done all that.
"I really feel being 30 is really grown up. I can see where my independence is starting to grow and I want to do more. I have my own way of putting my head down and getting everything done!"
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