A word from Seamus, Managing Director of SENDCode CIC, Renardo’s mentor.
“Renardo is one of the most dedicated and hardworking people I have ever met. This is all the more remarkable when you consider the challenges he has faced through the late diagnosis of his autism and the social anxiety he experiences on a daily basis. He never misses deadlines for his clients and his work ethic makes him such a positive role model for other young people in Manchester, whether they are neurodiverse or not. Donating to his campaign is not just about supporting him, it is a commitment to supporting all young people who are marginalised by disability or immigration red tape.”
Thanks for clicking onto my GoFundeMe campaign, particularly at a time when there are so many other causes asking for support. Here’s a little background about why I’m asking for support:
I’ve lived in Manchester since I was 11, after moving here with my parents and sisters. I went to my local secondary school in inner city Manchester. When I left I started to work in a number of jobs such as a chef, doorman and labourer. I’m 27 now and have always worked,for two simple reasons; the first being that I want to be independent and eventually move into my own place, and the second is that if I don’t work I am not entitled to any support through the benefit system. You’ve probably not heard of something called ‘No recourse to public funds’, but that is what it says on my visa, as I still haven’t been granted citizenship, despite living here longer than I lived in Jamaica!
It is something that has impacted on me at various points in my life, because I have to pay £2000-£3000 everytime I reapply and I also have the additional stress of what happens if my visa is not renewed. As someone who is autistic, I find it really challenging having uncertainty in my life and so this raises my anxiety levels and has a huge impact on my mental health and ability to focus on work.
Last year I decided I wanted to set up as a freelance content creator, to pursue my passion for video production. I have just finished a series of videos for Greater Manchester Autism Consortium, my first paid work as a freelancer, to raise awareness and open employment pipelines for adults with invisible disabilities. The message about a cause which I personally believe in is more important now than ever, especially in the times of uncertainty in which the country now finds itself in.
Prior to Covid-19 I had managed to agree to some initial contracts, which were sadly pulled due to lockdown. My business plan had been to use these contracts to buy some of the equipment I didn’t have and to upgrade some of my underperforming equipment. Since lockdown, however, my income has completely dried up, and as I have already mentioned, I’m not entitled to any state support and so I’m living off the kindness of my friends and family. I’d really like to be able to move forward with my video editing once lockdown allows me to, but need support to get a level playing field with my competitors by buying that new equipment.
So please donate whatever you can because each donation will be greatly appreciated, and serve to alleviate some of the stress and frustration that comes from wanting to pursue my dream career.
- Andy Lovatt
- Lorna Gilbert
- Christos Tsaprounis
- Louise Sheridan
Manchester, North West England, United Kingdom