Welcome to my blog! My name is Richard Keagan-Bull and I’m a member of the L’Arche Community in London – have been for 14 years. I’m very active in making the voices of people with learning disabilities heard, and was the first chair of the National Speaking Group for L’Arche UK, and now I continue as a spokesperson for L’Arche. I’ve had the honour of meeting Tim Shriver, president of the Special Olympics and John F. Kennedy’s nephew, at an event with L’Arche, and at another event I sat only a few rows behind Princess Anne! I’ve also had conversations with Government minister Tracey Crouch at the Houses of Parliament about the rights of people with learning difficulties.
Outside L’Arche, I’m the co-chair for the assembly for people with learning difficulties in Lambeth, here in London, and a spokesperson for Learning Disability England, and I attend meetings for the South London Learning Disability and Autism Forum. Before lockdown, I also worked a part-time cleaning job… I’m very busy!
I attended a special needs college in Shropshire, and when I left I stayed there working in catering for about 17 years. I moved to London to be a bit more close to my family, and whilst the college were pleased that I took the step to move on, they were a bit worried about what I might do, or that I might not end up doing anything… I think the opposite has happened! It did take a bit of time for me to find my feet, but that changed when I attended a meeting for People First, an organisation for speaking up for people. I asked a question at the meeting and after it the organisers came up to me and asked me if I’d like to attend another meeting, and I think that everything just went from there – that and joining the National Speaking Council for L’Arche.
What drives me is that I think it’s good for people with a learning difficulty to have their voice and to be heard. In this time we’re in, we need to be able to keep people’s voices alive.
In my spare time, I enjoy baking and going to the gym. I do a lot of painting, and I’m looking forward to the next series of The Crown on Netflix!