Alastair Jinks – Living Library Talk

Alastair, who has been volunteering with W.R.A.P. for a year now and spoke at our Restorative approaches & Accessibility Conference has written a blog that is similar to what he discussed in our 'living Library' Segment in our conference.

My name is Alastair Jinks

I became involved with WRAP after I attended a job interview with Julia and Leanne. Sadly, I didn’t get the job, but they were so impressed with my skills that I was offered a voluntary job which I was happy to do. This afternoon they but me near the buffer, not sure that was a great idea.

I am working towards an AGORED Level 2 Qualification in Restorative Approaches after I attended a three-day training course with our colleague Vince who receives some great feedback on linked in. I helped developed the new manual around accessibility and I will be transferring some of that knowledge later in this living library presentation.

I will hopefully become an experienced practitioner but have a high standard to meet in this field set by my colleagues and have drawn on experiences from other past training courses with Genius Within and Engaging and Storytelling

I feel Restorative Approaches is great thing as it avoids punishment and exclusion which has not always been the case throughout my life thus far. I will be using some examples from my personal life to illustrate these approaches.

All the staff at WRAP are excellent and supportive. I have only worked with Ted a bit so far but would like to do more. I mostly identify with him, as we have both overcome the stigma of disability and achieved so much with our life’s despite of this.

Teds disability is more physically apparent, but I suffer from Dyspraxia. It effects my fine motor skills it also has similarities with ADHD including forgetfulness and careless mistakes. It is known as a hidden disability and means it takes me longer to pick things up and to take things literally when I was practicing my talk, she suggested I look up as in look at my audience instead I looked up at the ceiling, which caused great amusement throughout the office

It also affected my performance levels in most of my jobs.

Thankfully most of my line managers have been very supportive and made allowances for the above and my frustration if I can’t get my point across to work colleagues or friends. Sadly, I have also had some line managers who have not used the concept of Restorative Approaches which was not a good thing.

I do feel my strengths are being organised and having a structured approach to all my tasks and dependable. I don’t mind repetitive tasks and I am very reliable. I am brave, provide empathy, creativity and sensitivity although this is also sometimes a weakness in a business environment.

I am also comfortable and accurate with Information Technology and computer packages. My dyspraxia sometimes allows me to see things others can’t and I have flashes of brilliance, sadly not too often these days.

I was at main stream school then college until 1991. Like Ted on occasion I struggled to fit in.

I then went to Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for disabled people in Leatherhead between 1991 and 1993. Even though I was well supported, there were no such things as Reasonable Adjustments through my educational lifetime.

Work, school and life in general have sometimes been very tough for me emotionally and stressfully, but thankfully my parents have always been very supportive. I always had lots of friends throughout my life who were supportive as well, and they used emphatic listening skills which help.

It was a lot tougher for disabled people than it is in today’s climate. Thankfully things became better as there was the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995 then the Equality Act in 2010,

Anyway, a little more about me in my spare time I play golf, swim and do lots of classes at the gym, in Boxfit we use circles as part of a class but Zumba is my favourite as it involves dancing which I love to do.

Ted and I are both live entertainers, Ted is a comedian, I do Karaoke a microphone is similar to a talking piece as I gets every one gets a chance to shine and have a range of between 40-50 different songs. Like dancing it provides an outlet for my emotions. I was voted the most inspirational person at my leisure centre in 2015 and I am a Tournament Director at bridge and a keen golfer.

Where I have seen restorative core, values are when I apply for jobs. My recent training helps me answer such a question if it comes up in an interview.

I feel Restorative Approaches is great thing as it avoids punishment and exclusion. This has not always been the case throughout my life thus far. I will share an example from my personal life and work.

In one of my previous employments I was a member of both our local disabled group and for Wales and part of a national group throughout England and Wales. 😊

I received an email that was offensive in tone from the then chairperson, even though I was the secretary at the time, I followed the procedure of reporting it to both my line managers, one was for my work and the other was also disabled so would have had a greater example of this from a disability viewpoint.

She felt this was a breach of confidentiality and I tried to resolve this between we by talking through the issues.

Unfortunately, this did not work so we ended up going towards an official hearing with our Chief Executive and to a certain extent Restorative Approaches were used.

We were both given a chance to explain how we felt, and even though we would not move from our individual viewpoints, I agreed that it would not happen again in the future.

What I would like to see in the future is restorative approaches being implemented in my future work and my personal life as it would help explain my needs to future employers and friends.

Hopefully it would help change their mindsets.

In turn the public at large could have a greater awareness of disability and develop a non-judgemental approach and further implement the points made by my colleagues at this conference.

Listening to my personal experience would help them identify on a personal level from someone who has been through this process, rather than some generic example or just training manuals.

It could help improve organisational culture in a business environment if needed and I feel a Ted Talk series would help accomplish this. I am hoping to do a Ted talk at some point in the future.

I am asking my colleague Ted for advice as Two Teds are better than one. 😊

If you liked that joke thanks very much, hopefully if not you enjoyed the earlier part of the speech anyway.