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Meet Elsa, George, Jordan and Jonathan – our new Engage to Change project ambassadors! Following an application and interview process, they were appointed in May 2018 and made their first appearances as ambassadors at our Annual Awards events in June. All four are participating or have participated in the Engage to Change project prior to becoming ambassadors. Here are their stories in their own words. Last but certainly not least, it’s Jonathan.

Jonathan

My name is Jonathan Tranter and I’m from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Anglesey, North Wales. Yes, the place with the stupid long name, or Llanfair P.G as known by the locals living in the town.

I was born with a double Pyloric stenosis (a blockage above and below my stomach) as well as a severe case of Reflex Anoxic Seizures. RAS is the term used for a particular fit which is neither epileptic nor due to cyanotic breath-holding, but which rather results from a stoppage of the heart through excessive activity of the vagus nerve.

I had a pacemaker fitted when I was two and a half years old, which improved the RAS condition. Once this was done in 1995 my other problems started to show, such as only having a two and a half second concentration span. My autism became more obvious, never mind my lack of sleep (maybe 2 hours a night), but to name a couple of things.

My mother Philippa and I have had many battles on our journey with education, moving from school to school, as well as people not understanding my complex needs.

But when my mother joined Carers Outreach, none of us knew how much it would change all our lives, especially my life.

Philippa went to the Carers Outreach Information Day at the Carreg Bran on the 23.03.2017, not thinking she would get any help as I was 24 years old and it was meant to be for up to 18 year-olds. Philippa took a chance and spoke to Agoriad Cyf, who had just been involved in setting up a programme called “Engage to Change” which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government. This was a big turning point for me. A few weeks later I got a phone call, and after a meeting, was accepted on the project at 24 years old. I spent the next year working hard on courses and training, and eventually got a temporary job with B&M Bargains in Bangor. Agoriad asked me if I would like to apply for an Ambassador’s job with All Wales People First, which I did. I travelled to Cardiff for the interview and the following day I was told I got the position.

On the 14.06.2018 I was awarded “Young Person of the Year” by CEO Martyn Jones of Learning Disability Wales.

I’m looking forward to the future, being able to work and help other people like myself.

It has been a long hard road for me so far, but with the help & support of not just my family but local services I say “THIS IS MY YEAR & MANY MORE YEARS TO COME, SO WATCH THIS SPACE”.