Support and services Our impact: Richard's story Our impact: Richard's story 'I’ve been part of L’Arche London for twelve years. I live in my own flat. I went to a residential special needs college in Shropshire and I was very happy there, but when the time came for me to leave, it was my mum who heard about L’Arche. L’Arche is a community-based organisation. It makes sure people are safe and happy, but it also offers a faith life as well. There’s always room at the table. You’re not just a client, you’re a person who is recognised for the skills and the gifts that you have. Also you’re accepted as an equal. No one is better than anyone else. Everyone is on the same level. You do need the assistants and the managers to make sure everything is alright. It’s good to have a bit of company and a bit of support to do things. At L’Arche people always take an interest in you, [even] after they have stopped working in L’Arche. For example, last year I was attacked on the high street. A lot of people who used to work in L’Arche came to see me to see if I was alright. That’s what’s nice about L’Arche. With other care organisations you receive a ‘bundle of care’. That care, maybe six hours a week, might help people with their practical needs, but it doesn’t mean you won’t become isolated or lonely. L’Arche is somewhere that people receive friendship support. [There is] companionship and friendship, and community events and big celebrations. L’Arche celebrates people’s birthdays. It’s one happy community and it’s nice to be part of it. It’s nice to be seen for who you are. I think L’Arche can teach the world that people with learning disabilities might have a peculiar way of doing things sometimes, but they also have gifts. What L’Arche does is build community that includes people. [People coming to L’Arche] would see the joy and the happiness of what L’Arche can bring. Hopefully they would ask what it’s all about. I would encourage them to come for a cup of tea at one of our houses because there’s always room at the table. That’s usually how it starts - with someone just coming for a cup of tea.'