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  • Writer's picturestevose31

My mate Barry

I first met Barry in a bungalow in Maidstone in late 1989 (I feel so old now!). Barry lived with four other people, who all had learning disabilities. You see I had just taken up the post of support worker and I was 19 years old.

I got to know Barry pretty quickly and within six weeks I became his ‘key-worker’. My first role as Barry’s key-worker was to support him to choose a colour for the walls of his bedroom and then paint it. Barry and I had never decorated a room but it was great fun! However when the paint dried they noticed plenty of mistakes. The depth manager decided to repaint it whilst Barry and I had a relaxing cup of tea in the garden.

My next job was chairing his life plan meeting. I met with Barry asked him what he wants to do with his life and planned what we were going to say. On the day of ‘Barry’s life plan’ meeting I pushed him in his wheelchair to the meeting room. Dead silence, disapproving looks and gasps. You see no one had ever been invited to their own life plan meeting but we went ahead with it. Plus no one could argue my point ‘it’s Barry‘s life and he knows what he wants’. I then tried to get Barry attend the house meeting, you win some, you lose some!

The photo below is of Barry doing a sponsored bath, which was full of baked beans! He saw the BBC documentary about Romanian orphans and this greatly upset him. The bath escapade was in the Kent Messenger!

I learnt so much from Barry. He was a kind and caring gentleman. He sadly passed away in his sleep in the mid 1990’s. We miss you Barry.

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