“I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions,” says Matthew at his Dimensions supported living service in Coventry. “I think every day is a chance to make a change.”
Matthew is 35 years old and has mild autism, which affects his social skills and willingness to adapt his routine.
But with the help of Dimensions, the budding actor has found the confidence to explore his passion for theatre and in turn help others with autism and learning difficulties.
After a string of roles in theatre productions such as ‘Dr Who’ and ‘Hansel Gretel’, Matthew now works one day per week for the ‘One of a Kind’ theatre group at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
He says: “I work with children who have similar learning disabilities, and we build their confidence through acting and dancing.
“I love my job, because I know how difficult it is to be different and I want others to know that they can be successful too. My autism doesn’t define who I am, or what I can achieve. I’ve even met celebrities and appeared as an extra in a Hollywood film!”
Matthew credits Dimensions staff – particularly his support worker, Denise – for believing in him. He’s now keen to encourage others to support people like himself through volunteering opportunities.
He says: “Before becoming involved with Dimensions 11 years ago, I didn’t feel like I’d ever been given a chance to tell my story. Often people with learning difficulties are kept inside, or someone talks for them.
“But Dimensions has given me a voice. And now I’m using it to help other people.
“Having more volunteers on board would help people like me continue to support others, and make our voices heard.”
If you have some spare time and would like to find out about volunteering opportunities in your area, please visit the volunteering section of our website.