Matthew, who lives at 31 Bushey Road, has always enjoyed music and dancing, belting out Pavarotti at the top of his lungs in his room, or singing to Take That in the car. When staff have supported him on holidays away, he has always been the first up and last off the dance floor, and would often catch the eye of the resort’s entertainment team. On one occasion he even was made an honorary member of the entertainment team when on holiday in Cypress.
When staff organised for Matt to join the music and theatre group ‘Electric Umbrella’, in 2016, it gave him a regular outlet for his creative energy and voice. As he made more friends and with the support of staff and the organiser, Matt improved greatly and soon became a much-loved member of the group. Staff supported him to attend the group weekly, taking him to regular practice sessions and events. Staff also helped Matt to keep calm before performances, supported him backstage, and even practiced singing with him back home.
Matt is still the first to put on a sequined jacket or some other form of dressing up, but will now do it to encourage others to follow suit. Matt has now performed at a number of gigs locally at schools, at Cassiobury Park, The Horns pub, and also the Watford Palace Theatre – a sold out 600 capacity event where he performed Nessun Dorma with professional opera singer Jeff Nicholson.
Since then, Matt has performed at various local festivals and events, has recorded a full length album and even have some music videos. Staff have encouraged and motivated him all the way, helping to boost Matt’s confidence considerably.
When asked why he goes to Electric Umbrella, Matt said “Singing, taking turns, making friends, not moaning and fun”.
Paul, service manager said “What started out as an idea for a platform for Matt’s singing, has also allowed Matt to develop personal and social skills. We’re all very proud of him!”