Here, Mark explains how he first started working in the sector two decades ago and why it remains a passion of his:
"I first got into working with adults with Learning Disabilities (LD) in 1988, when I was working with a steeplejack’s company, maintaining chimneys and church roofs. I damaged my knee and was unable to work for a long time, so a friend invited me to do some volunteer work with a support group in Lewisham.
I loved the work so much that I decided it was something I wanted to do full time. From there, I started working in residential homes and day centres around Lewisham and Greenwich until I applied to work at Smerdon in 1998. I initially started working in special care, supporting adults with complex needs and after three years I moved to the mainstream unit. I utilised my passion for computers by setting up a computer suite connected to the internet - we were the first day centre to do this! We soon started to look at digital photography and film making, where we made fun film clips while I developed my photo and film editing skills. We've come such a long way since then with the services we offer and the way in which we are able to offer paid work to our clients."