ABUSE from bullies is among the many issues faced by people with learning disabilities.
That was a lesson Paul Scarrott learned again and again until he became involved with Oxford-based learning disability charity My Life My Choice.
It raises awareness about learning disabilities while teaching those with them how to cope with bullies.
It was one of the projects supported by Comic Relief Red Nose Day with a £1,000 grant in 2011 and the group hopes to be successful with another bid for cash from this year’s £50,000 pot for Oxfordshire.
Mr Scarrott, 42, has various learning disabilities which means he is partially deaf and struggles to read and write.
The Blackbird Leys resident said: “I have been a victim of crime a lot. I have been robbed, mugged and beaten up. I have a long list of crimes which have happened to me.
“A few years ago a group of about five youths asked me for a fag. There were about five of them and I gave them one each and said Merry Christmas.
“But they beat me up badly. I had my phone and my wallet but they just beat me up to take my last cigarette.
“I had to wear a Phantom of the Opera mask because my face was so beat up. But they were never caught.”
Mr Scarrott said he was afraid to go out for months but won back his confidence thanks to the Park End Street charity, of which he is now a co-chairman.
The cash pays for workshops to begin next month to teach 130 people with learning disabilities how to cope with abusive behaviour.
Oxfordshire groups are being offered a share of £50,000 as part of the Red Nose Day Community Cash grant scheme.
Between £500 to £1,000 is available as a result of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day 2013 celebrations on March 15.
A panel run by the Oxfordshire Community Fund – including representatives from Comic Relief and the Oxford Mail – will then decide which projects will get cash.
- Applications are sought by March 8 at http://oxfordshire.org/ cp6.php or on 01865 798 666.