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​Anne MacKinnon

anne mckinnonFortune Works (formerly the Thomas Fortune Work Centre) in Drumchapel, Glasgow, was re-launched in January 2013 after a year of intensive expansion.

The centre has since doubled its workforce and continues to provide quality training, education and social opportunities for people who have learning disabilities.  

Anne MacKinnon has volunteered at Fortune Works for more than 12 years and she, along with long-time service user George Black, cut the ribbon at the official opening of the new, improved centre.

“George and I performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony together. I wasn’t pre-warned or prepared. I would have smartened myself up had I known!” said Anne.  

Anne is also chairperson of the Glasgow Parents and Carer’s Committee and has been volunteering with ENABLE Scotland for a number of years.

It wasn’t until her father passed away in 1990 that she became more actively involved and sat on committees within the organisation. Her mother was also a volunteer in the very early days of the organisation when it was known as the Scottish Society for the Mentally Handicapped.

“My mother was very active in the early days of ENABLE. When she died, a former neighbour came up to me and said: ‘The best thing your mother every did for me was tell me about the Scottish Society.’ She had a son who had Down’s syndrome and they had come from Ireland where there were no services.  My mother met them on the street and told them about the society.  That is what the early days were about: word of mouth.”

Anne’s brother Peter had a learning disability and died at the age of 33.  Anne and her family grew up in a very supportive and compassionate neighbourhood, which ensured Peter did not endure bullying or discrimination. 

“Nobody was ever nasty to Peter.  We didn’t have to put up with any bullying.  Unfortunately that is not the norm.  We were very lucky,” said Anne.

Volunteering at Fortune Works at least once a week, Anne uses her skills as a computer systems engineer to help support people within the centre.

Anne understands how important Fortune Works is to people who have learning disabilities. Not only does the service offer work opportunities, it also provides a support network and a place to meet people and have fun.

“It’s like a big family. It’s a friendship, an extended support network, from which people gain a lot,” explained Anne. 

With the proposed closure of three resource centres in Glasgow, many people are worried about the wider impact on services. This has led to increased stress and anxiety for parents and carers.

“It is really important that people have a viable, suitable and affordable alternative. It will be different for every person – and everyone is entitled to choice.”  

Anne also volunteers on a Thursday night at the Southbrae Resource Centre.  The club runs discos, bingo, arts and crafts, pool, table tennis and many other activities. she drives people to and from the centre, enjoying the banter and laughs along the way.

Volunteering at Fortune Works and other ENABLE Scotland projects helps Anne to get into perspective the stresses and strains of everyday life.

“You can be feeling sorry for yourself but five minutes inside the door of Fortune Works and you’ve forgotten what was upsetting you. It’s marvellous!”

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