Opportunities to speak up for rights - Maz's story Maz's story Before I came to Elfrida, life was really difficult. I used to work in the private sector and for me it was extremely frustrating. People didn’t believe I had a learning disability. I always lost my job at the end of the trial period, they said I was ‘no good’. It made me feel so horrible within myself that I didn’t want to live anymore. I found out about Elfrida through my mum about 12 years ago and applied for a job in the User Led Monitoring project. I was really scared because I thought I wouldn’t get the job but I was selected! It changed the way I felt about myself and the money always helps! Elfrida gave me a chance to work part time at a job that I’m really good at. The staff are absolutely fantastic. When my mum passed away, everybody was there for me. As well as my work, Elfrida projects have helped me in other ways. With Homelink, I get a supportive network. My support workers help me to sort out my health and my money. This makes a big difference to me. My advocate from the Health project has been marvellous, she’s a fighter and she listens. I think that’s really important. When my health was really bad, the first Doctors I saw said there was nothing wrong with me! My advocate supported me to get a proper diagnosis of connective tissue disease. I get a lot of support now to help me stay well. Politicians and employers shouldn’t scaremonger people like myself and make assumptions about us. There is too much discrimination and it’s just not fair! Elfrida has made me stronger as a person, more confident. There are people at Elfrida I can trust. I don’t need to hide from them, I feel that they understand. I’m a very determined person and very stubborn but in a good way! I still push myself but when I can’t do something I feel able to say. I’m very grateful for the job I have at Elfrida, It encourages me to have a positive mental attitude. For the first time in my life, I’m working not just for 3 or 6 months, but for 12 years.