He's living life to the full

16:00, Feb 04 2014
INDEPENDENT LIFE: IHC member Christopher Crowther, 48, lives an independent life by working at The Warehouse in New Lynn and flatting with friends.

Christopher Crowther loves chatting to people from different walks of life.

The Henderson resident is a member of IHC Auckland, an organisation that provides support for intellectually disabled people so they can live, learn, work and enjoy life as part of the community.

Mr Crowther, 48, and his twin brother Graeme were born with a lack of oxygen to the brain but are able to lead independent lives.

The brothers flat with another IHC Auckland member and are responsible for cooking, cleaning and paying their own bills.

Mr Crowther has worked at The Warehouse in New Lynn for more than 10 years and loves the job because he can chat to different people.

"I used to do pricing back in the olden days but now I sweep the car park and do trolley runs," he says.


"People drop rubbish in the car park all the time but I see the funny side in it.

"Do you think they'll ever stop?"

February is IHC New Zealand's national awareness and appeal month.

It aims to raise $300,000 to go toward friendship volunteer programmes and support, and advocacy work to help families or careers of people with intellectual disabilities to access benefits or legal rights.

Mr Crowther has been involved with IHC Auckland since he was 19 and says it has helped him learn new skills and get into the workforce.

"I'm independent and do my own thing," he says.

Mr Crowther's supported independent living co-ordinator, Derf Delarama, calls to see him about once a fortnight.

Mr Delarama says it is important to support people to live in their own home and to be a part of their local community.

"We advocate for the rights and welfare of our people with an intellectual disability and support them to live satisfying lives in the community," he says.

Western Leader