A young woman who has Down’s syndrome has decided to use the current COVID-19 restrictions to her, and her neighbourhood’s advantage, by picking up discarded litter. Laura, 39, from Welwyn Hatfield, has been using the experience to build upon her confidence and employability.
“Laura is very kind and would love to be independent and have a job,” explains her brother-in-law Peter. “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.”
Peter says Laura, who has lived with him and his wife for the past year, has found gaining even voluntary employment difficult. The family, therefore, decided to do their own voluntary work – they took sticks and a bag and went out into the local streets and park to pick up litter.
“Laura picked up the litter with great eagerness and excitement; for her, I think it feels like having a job,” says Peter. “She was shown once how to use the litter picker and then had the hang of it.”
A council worker from Welwyn Hatfield Council saw Laura, Peter and his wife Danielle busy collecting litter and was so grateful of the helping hands that he later came back to give the team some proper litter bags.
“It was lovely that this gentleman from the council was able to see the value in what Laura was doing and was so appreciative and prepared to encourage her,” says Peter. “Imagine what the world could become if we all encouraged each other to do our best and help in our communities.”
Peter says Laura will definitely continue her litter picking mission as it’s also helped to encourage her to get out and about during the current pandemic.
“It is excellent exercise as well as something that she enjoys. She also loves to get the acknowledgement of passersby 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.”