It’s now been 5 years since I’ve had my individual budget, which allows me to live independently with support when needed. I would like to share with you some highlights from the past 5 years. Life before having my budget was very isolating for me and my family. At times, it could be very stressful as my parents didn’t know where to turn to for support. When I was younger, it was only when I met my citizen’s advocate that my life really began! Since then, I have gone on to have amazing opportunities with the support of my Personal Assistants and network of support. I have now worked within the disability field of personalisation sharing my own experiences of life with an individual budget, working with families, local authorities and alongside organisations such as The Council For Disabled Children, who influence government policies.
In 2011, I was delighted to be awarded a fellowship grant from The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. This allowed me to the opportunity to carry out some research across North America, including a written report called ‘Research into Global Leaders in Support Practices for Disabled People’ which can be viewed at wcmt.org.uk. I visited Washington DC, Minneapolis, Toronto and New York over a 4 week period. Following this, I am continuing to work with many people and organizations across the UK, hoping to share my knowledge of having personal assistants, to support those who are just starting out on their own path.
I believe everyone should have the right to live an independent life, whatever shape of form that might be. Yes, we are facing financial hardship at present, but it’s about how we truly support those who are in need on a personal centred approach. It’s very important that we continue to put people in the heart of the community, so the next generation will be part of an equal society.
My life now is just like anyone else’s. I contribute to my community with my work, I meet with friends and take holidays. I now have 4 PAs who all bring a different flavour to the table. I am now looking to the future and can’t wait to start the next chapter of my life!
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