Laura's litter-picking mission

Marie Laura (or 'Laura') my sister-in-law, is 39 years old and came to live with us a year ago.

Laura litter picking

This story is written by Richard, Laura's brother-in-law.

Laura is very kind and would love to be independent and have a job. Unfortunately, Laura has had very little education and does not yet have a great deal of verbal communication, but she would love to have a job whereby she can help people and help to make the world a better place.

Laura assists us in the house enormously, but finding even voluntary employment has proved difficult. As a result, last week we decided to do our own voluntary work; we took sticks and a bag and went out into the local streets and park to pick up litter. Laura loved it; it was lovely to be in the fresh air and helping to tidy up our community.

Whilst we were busy collecting litter a council worker from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council stopped to talk to us; he was so grateful that we were helping to keep the neighbourhood clean that he said he would come back later to give us some proper litter bags to help us collect more rubbish. And he did come back with a set of lovely green sacks for us to fill up.

Laura picked up the litter with great eagerness and excitement; for her I think it feels like having a job. She was shown once how to use the litter picker and then had the hang of it.

Laura will definitely continue to pick up litter. It is excellent exercise as well as something that she enjoys. She also loves to get the acknowledgement of passers by and council workers. As the local area is now litter free, Laura is expanding her parameters and we now walk a little further away from home to find new litter. Most days we go out to collect litter before Laura attends her day centre.

When not helping clear up her local community, Laura's hobbies include dancing. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she loved to attend a disco every Friday evening and her favourite band is definitely Abba. She also loves going swimming which she is able to do every Sunday at our local pool through the Platypus Club, which allows people of all ages with disabilities of all kinds to enjoy the water. Laura so loves the feel of water that she will also stand out in the rain and of course loves showers and baths.

Laura attends church weekly, where before COVID, she loved to sing the hymns. Laura has recently had the experience of posting letters. She loves to take a walk down the road to the letterbox to post letters.

Thank you to the Down's Syndrome Assocation for sharing Laura's story.