My life story in pictures

Community Living’s cartoonist Robin Meader illustrates his life and times

Robin Meader - Southampton to Wedmore

I was born in 1977 in Southampton. My mum and dad had problems so, I when I was six years old, I got moved from Southampton to Wedmore in Somerset to live with my grandparents. It had loads of woodland and wildlife.

Robin Meader - my wildlife world

When I was a child, I used to watch a lot of wildlife programmes on the BBC. I saw these birds in a cartoon called David the Gnome. I got hooked on drawing cartoon pictures of animals.

Robin Meader - the bakery shop

My first job was in a bakery and the people were really aggressive. Like “boy, go and do that”. I didn’t get paid, all I got was bread and cakes.

Robin Meader - days of Thatcher in London

My mates at college were into rock on one side and the other side were into r’n’b and techno. You felt like “which side do I join?” Then everybody started to like me because I was into both pop music and techno. People started becoming really friendly – I was building a friendly environment.

Robin Meader - sword in the stone

I was at college doing a Workskills course when I managed to catch a bus on my own all the way from college to home. It was like a bus ride to independence. It reminded me of the story of the sword in the stone. I told my gran when I got home how I’d caught a bus back on my own. My gran could not believe it.

Robin Meader - many jobs

I’ve done many jobs. Now I live with my aunty and uncle – I’m their carer. I do their cooking and help them to wash their clothes. They both have learning disabilities. And I get help and support from them as well. I do like sticking up for a lot of people who do need their disability rights heard.

Robin Meader - Angel of Somerset

When Nicola Grove, founder of community arts charity Open Storytellers, came to my day centre in Somerset 21 years ago, she said: “How many of you want to become storytellers?” Forget day services – we will become storytellers!

Robin Meader - Cafe meeting

I set up my own company, Robin Meader Artist, in 2010. I’ve got a circle of support that helps me to get the jobs. If you want to set up your own business, you should just feel like “yeah, I can do that”. That’s what disabled people should be doing – looking for work and skills and power.


Robin Meader - self portrait
Robin Meader – self portrait