New Role for James Tyler at Pembrokeshire People First
We had a chance to catch up with Pembrokeshire’s very own Paralympian James Tyler (see our previous article) the other day and to hear his good news.
James has just added chairman of All Wales People First to his many other roles serving the community. After his work with People First for nine years, his election to the People First National Council was an acknowledgment of the skills he has developed over the years.
“I have worked in the past as a trustee, a campaigns group member and members group members, on different management committees and as chairman of the Pembrokeshire Partnership Board. I was also a member of West Wales Care Partnership Regional Board.”
James wasn’t always the confident young man who loves to laugh and take on new challenges. It was his stepfather, himself a committee member for Pembrokeshire People First, who recognised that James getting into community work would be good for everyone.
James had just begun to live in residential care and needed a lot of support at that time, but his stepfather took him to a men’s group and, as he started getting out and about, he took on his first voluntary job with the FRAME organisation.
Now James works with different charities and organisations in other parts of Wales helping to form plans and put measures in place that support other people with learning disabilities (LD).
James laughs: “I made the biggest mistake in showing how knowledgeable I was.”
Does James think the pandemic has proven particularly difficult for people with learning disabilities?
“I do think it’s been tough on everyone and many people are scared of leaving the house. Some live alone and are full of anxiety but can’t stand being stuck at home any longer. Many people live in residential care. I think we have all had enough, but it seems that there is much more of a focus on people with learning disabilities …more television programmes and lots of talk about how the pandemic is affecting everyone. That’s good”
James recognises that it is harder for people with learning disabilities to find meaningful work and to access benefits, and there is always room for improvement.
James says: ”I have met most of my friends through this work and learned so much. I had never even heard of Human rights before. Now there is a passion to include people with LD.”
But it’s not all hard grind. James can’t wait to get back to his other job at the Torch Theatre where he has volunteered since 2017: “I get to see everything for free. I watch musicals, live bands and theatre.” He says he particularly loves films like Jurassic Park with CGI. “I would like to know how to do this kind of animation”. Me too James!
I ask James if he has any advice for his friends out there who are struggling with the ways things are through the pandemic.
“I would say that things are getting better. We just all need to keep to the rules and let the vaccine do its work.”
Thank you, James, for talking to us again. We wish you all the best in your new role.
Pembrokeshire People First is a charity run by and for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. It is affiliated to the All Wales People First organisation whose remit is to “support people with learning disabilities to speak up for themselves and overcome exclusion and discrimination by provide a collective voice”.
In 2011, Pembrokeshire People First became the lead organisation, incorporating Pembrokeshire Advocacy; it focuses on advocacy, campaigning groups and training.