Collette’s story

In sharing her experiences as a disabled person, Collette found she could support others facing similar issues, and find her own identity.

‘I simply didn’t meet other disabled people’

I became a disabled person at six years old, acquiring a spinal cord injury in a car accident in which my mum died. Growing up in a small town, for years I simply didn’t meet other disabled people, and as a teenager I really struggled with my identity. I hated the idea I was different and did my absolute best to blend in with my friends. To such an extent I didn’t talk to my friends about any of the difficulties I had, and became really lonely and isolated. The truth was, I was living a very different life to my friends and I didn’t have anybody I felt I could talk to or who was going through the same things as me.

My introduction to WECIL came at a really important point in my life. A friend suggested I contact their advocacy team to help me with some problems I was having. At this time, a string of difficult health problems and frustratingly long periods on hospital waiting lists meant that I was unable to take up a place I had earned at university. Very low, and struggling to find a workplace that was wheel-chair accessible, I found real inspiration as a volunteer.

 

‘My experiences travelling meant I could help someone plan their first trip abroad’

Life as a disabled person was, and is endlessly challenging – often in ways most people don’t anticipate. Volunteering at WECIL, I found disabled people supporting and advising each other, benefiting from sharing experiences. My experiences travelling abroad meant I could help someone else plan their first trip on a plane. This sort of project would have really helped me when I was younger.

 

‘Never been so proud to call myself a disabled person’

Meeting other disabled people and helping them through WECIL’s services, almost gave me a new identity – I finally felt purposeful and had never been so proud to call myself a disabled person.

A few years on, I am proud to be a Trustee. I hope that my experiences of life as a disabled person, my knowledge of all the great projects and my fierce passion for fighting for the rights of other disabled people like myself, will give me the opportunity to help impact on the lives of the WECIL community as positively as WECIL has enriched mine.

Calendar

Calendar

23 Apr
24 Apr
  • Peer Support lunch meet up

    Disabled people together to share experiences, support each…

    Greenway Centre & Cafe, Doncaster Rd, Bristol BS10 5PY, UK, 12:00 pm

  • singing & music group - peer support

    Informal and fun group singalong session run by…

    The Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol, BS10 5PY., 2:00 pm

Twitter
2 days ago
Great good news story from @WestOfEngWorks WECIL are also part of the project. If you are a disabled person and would like advice or support finding employment then contact us today! 0117 961 7909 https://t.co/MsqlERYZtU
2 days ago
https://t.co/a1vUde5Tmb We look forward to 2022 when the Commonwealth games return to the UK. May the inclusivity continue. For information about how to get involved in disabled sports visit https://t.co/Aip0UgZYfe
3 days ago
Are you a young disabled person living in Bristol? Do you want to meet new people, have fun and learn new skills? See what Youth Projects we run near you https://t.co/D64nGHRX5D