Grant awarded to inspirational speaker

Mark Smith regularly speaks to audiences of 250 people at universities in Bristol and Gloucester about the challenges he faces living independently with a learning disability.

Mark, who’s 47, speaks to nurses who are returning to practice about the daily challenges he faces, so they have a better understanding of learning disabilities.

Gina Pring is Mark’s Employment Coordinator with the Supported Employment team and she is helping Mark to find paid employment. He volunteers at Westfield Church helping the homeless and is keen to do as much training as possible.

Gina said: “Mark is a very inspirational speaker, he has a brilliant sense of humour and I think he’s very brave to get on a train by himself and speak in front of all of those people. He gave a speech at the Arts Centre Talking Café in Bridgwater recently and he was absolutely brilliant; he’s so effective at bringing people together.”

Mark has been awarded a Small Sparks grant by the Discovery Community Fund so that he can buy a new suit and smarten himself up.

He has applied to become a Quality Checker with Discovery and help to assess candidates during the interview process.  “I could be a good ambassador for the company, they need someone like me who can stand up for people” he said.