East Midlands trains choo-choo-choose Mitch

Meet Mitchell (or Mitch as he prefers to be called). Mitch is 21 and has lived with his Shared Lives carers, Linda and John, since he was nine. Shared Lives is for adults who need a bit of support with daily things like cooking, cleaning, going to the shops or, in this case, following their lifelong dreams!

Mitch was fostered by Linda and John as a child. When he turned 16, he didn’t feel ready to live on his own quite yet, so Linda and John became Shared Lives carers as part of our fab Shared Lives Midlands team, and Mitch was able to stay living with them as an adult.

Mitch has a learning disability and unfortunately this has meant he’s come up against some barriers to doing the things he enjoys in life. A lot of people didn’t understand Mitch’s condition and this left him feeling alone and left-out a lot.

Thankfully big-hearted Linda and John were there to really listen to what Mitch wanted. They’ve been Mitch’s rock and have always supported him to live his best life possible – helping him to become much more confident and independent. They’re determined, too: with every barrier they’ve come up against, they’ve simply said ‘we won’t have it’, and found ways around it.

Mitch’s dream since he was a child was to work on the railway and guess what… with the support of Linda and John, despite being told by his school and college he couldn’t make it, he’s only gone and done it! Mitch was so delighted, he wanted to tell us all about his journey.

Here’s his story in his own words:

‘Hi my name is Mitch.

 Since the age of eight I have always wanted to work with the railway. I have always told Linda and John how much I love trains.

Linda and John have always listened to this. I did tell school and college but I kept getting told I couldn’t do it for health and safety reasons because I have a learning difficulty. Linda and John did not settle for this and said that I should have the same chance and choice as anyone else should, so they contacted the careers officer. She came to see us all and said she had heard of volunteering at Kindsgrove station. She promised that she would talk to them and see if it is possible for me to do that.

 She got back to us after a week and said they were willing for me to go there and she even offered to support me there for the first few weeks.

I then got spotted by the East Midlands train manager, because I was doing that well and told there was a pilot scheme coming up. The pilot scheme was to get people with a learning disability to come into the railway industry and we achieved that over the next four weeks.

  A couple of months after I finished that training I had a phone call saying there was a Saturday job in Sheffield, doing train cleaning 9am – 5pm and it was mine if I wanted it, so I said yes and I have been doing it every Saturday since December the 7th 2015.

 They said in a year’s time I could be working on board, doing on-board stuff such as cleaning tables and taking cups.

 I have achieved this with determination from myself and support from Linda and John. They said if I had a dream, ‘I should go for it’ so I did, and they supported me all the way.’

Well done to Mitch for his resilience, dedication and determination to take to the tracks and follow his dream. Linda and John have been just the ticket (see what we did there) in supporting him to never give up.

Find out how you can become a Shared Lives carer here.