Transcript: My Life My Way: Gordon Roy

Experiences of a day centre for people with learning disability. Gordon Roy left school when he was 17 in the 1980s and attended a day centre.

Podcast Episode: My Life My Way: Gordon Roy

Category: Disability 



What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

MM - Michael McEwan
GR - Gordon Roy

MM When Gordon Roy left school at 17 in the 1980’s, he first attended a day centre. He was told he wouldn’t be able to work or have a family. He left the day centre and went to college and has held down a steady job for many years. He also has a family. In the first of our new series, My Life My Way, Gordon talks to Michael McEwan about day centres, college and working.

You are listening to in the first of the series called My life My Way, and we are joined by Gordon Roy, we are going to be hearing from Gordon Roy about his experiences going to a day centre and living an independent life after the day centre. So first of all Gordon, when did you start going to the day centre and what was it like?

GR I started in the day centre when I was 17, and it was all right, but just, when we got there during the day, it was like you were there from about 9 to about half 3, and you were sort of doing all different types of things like woodwork and stuff like that, and you get to go out and about. They took you out to the local high school, you know, and obviously we got home economics and stuff like that. It was a bit like independent living.

MM What was it like?

GR Well, I felt … it was all right, I felt it was just, it was actually a place just to go to keep me amused, I think it was, because they didn’t have anything else to do, and when I left school, I was bored, you know … and I just really didn’t have a lot of things to do, and then that’s when someone in Social Work got me a place in the day centre, the school made arrangements to visit the 3 After Training Centres, that’s what they called them then, and we went to view them and I was placed at the one in Linwood, and that was the one in Linwood I went to, so I was there for about 3 years and then they transferred me out to Paisley, and I was at Paisley for maybe 4 years.

MM What do you have to say about going to the centre?

GR Well, I don’t know … it was okay, as I say it was giving you something to do, it gave you something to get up for in the morning and it gave you something to get out your bed for. Because other than that you would just sort of lying there or doing nothing. I think it’s because, where I lived, there wasn’t a lot of places to do down my end, where I used to stay down in Paisley, and you know, it was … as I say, it was just something to do, and that was it really.

MM So, when you went to the centre, I know you touched on it earlier on, but what do you do, day to day?

GR Day to day was … well, a typical day would start, say, about 9 o’clock in the morning. You’d go in, maybe registration and then you would normally go to your wee sort of workshops that they did in the centre, like every day was different, so maybe one day, I will give you an example, a Monday, I would go to woodwork in the morning, we did sort of that, or we would … in the afternoon we would go out in the garden, that would be a Monday. And to give you another example, on a Wednesday we would go up to the high school for a recreational period, you know, whether it was listening to music, playing pool, just interacting with other people.

MM How did you feel about going to the centre?

GR Well, when I was going to the centre, I was getting picked up with a bus, we used to get all the ‘wee idiots’, excuse me, they used to come up and call you names and ’there’s that guy, there’s that person, they are on a special bus’, and you know, and you used to get a lot of stick.

MM Uh huh

GR But we tried, myself tried to ignore that, you know, but it got me down sometimes, don’t get me wrong, but I also it was somewhere to go

MM And why did you stop going to the centre?

GR Well, why did I stop going to the centre? It’s just when I was at Paisley, a 3 year course came up in college and I went there, and they got me away from the centre environment … so I did that for 3 years, I went to Reid Kerr College, and I did the sort of … a Stepping Stones group, that was 1985 to 1988, and we did a host of different things. We did like painting and decorating, secretarial, we did PE and all that and obviously we did cooking as well, you know stuff like that, and I think that was to get us ready for going out into the community.

MM So what is life like now?

GR Well, life is … I think life is good for me, because I was told years ago I wouldn’t be able to work, I wouldn’t be able to have a family, I wouldn’t be able to do certain things like run a house, and I think I have actually proved them wrong in those 3 things alone, I mean I got a job, I held down a job for 14 years at Dean Park, I did a stint at Uplawmoor for about 9 month, now I am down at Paisley working in a home as a kitchen assistant. I think it’s quite good for somebody to try that.

MM Tell us a bit about your family, you have got a family?

GR I have got a family, my wee lassie, Sophie is 13, she’s going through a lot of things herself, when she was born she was quite small, 3.13 she was in her weight, you know, and we thought she wouldn’t last the night, but she pulled through and she’s got a couple of wee disabilities, she’s deaf in 2 ears and a wee speech impediment, but she does well and, you know, Sophie is Sophie, and that’s a life to get on with, you know, because she keeps us all going.

MM And you have got a partner as well?

GR I have got a partner, Tina, I met Tina through the college. I had known her through school as well when we used to go to the discos at school, and we met through the school, but it wasn’t until we met at college we sort of met up again.

MM So, your job, what can you tell us about your job?

GR Well when I started up at the Dean Park, it was like a sheltered employment, right? So sheltered employment was, you went in and there was 26 weeks of working in an industrial kitchen, and I worked in the kitchens, 5 days a week, there was like 5 days over 7, well it gave us an idea, an insight of getting up early in the morning, going out to work and then coming back home in the afternoon or night time, or whatever time. And we did a lot of things in the kitchen, wash dishes, take out the rubbish, brushed the floors, helped the chef to make sandwiches, did a bit of heavy cleaning, aye, so I am really … that was good, you know?

MM And going back to the day centre all those years ago, Gordon, did you have a say in going to a day centre or were you told?

GR Do you know, I don’t think I did have a say, I think I was just told I was going to the day centre and that was me, because when I went to the Linwood Centre, I was … actually when I left school, I was at home for a week without doing anything and it was when the guy came out to see me, and he said you are starting on Monday at Linwood, we will be here to pick you up at half 8, we’d get picked up at half 8 and brought back home about quarter to 4, 4 o’clock. So really, I didn’t have a say in it, you know what I mean, Michael, so I didn’t really have a say.

MM So what it a case of you going to the day centre and home and …?

GR Yes it was kind of going to the day centre, doing what you have to do and you would be away for about 7 hours, so you wouldn’t get home to about maybe 4 o’clock, quarter past 4, so you just had to go and that was it. And I must admit, at the time I didn’t think I was … to be honest I was a wee bit oblivious to what things were going on, me, myself, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed doing that, but all the people … different people making comments, and you know, some nice, some not nice, you know.

MM Well, thanks for your time, Gordon, it’s been interesting listening to your story.

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