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

15 Aug
  • WECIL Citywide North (Southmead)

    Delivered in partnership with LPW. 

    Southmead Youth Centre, Greystoke Ave, Bristol BS10 6AS, UK, 6:00 pm

  • Action Speak

    A free theatre group for young disabled people…

    The Salvation Army, Hassell Dr, Bristol BS2 0AN, UK, 7:00 pm

17 Aug
  • MS Advice Clinic BrAMS

    The advice clinic runs every 2nd Tuesday and…

    Bristol and Avon Multiple Sclerosis Centre BrAMS Southmead Hospital Southmead Road Westbury-on-Trym BS10 5NB, Bristol, 11:00 am

Twitter
1 day ago
https://t.co/6nIMUS04KQ Good to see that action is being taken against these issues in education. Everyone deserves a fair chance! #inclusive #educationforeveryone #SEND
1 day ago
Did you know that Bristol Old Vic has a list of accessible performances, including signed performances, captioned, relaxed and audio described. Visit the website for listings! We look forward to the launch of the new accessible performance studio as well! https://t.co/boMdEaDOdN https://t.co/RavApoHzkU WECILBristol photo
5 days ago
Great to see @MobilooUK are at this years balloon fiesta! #inclusive #access https://t.co/NLS1h9Uycw
WECILBristol photo
Mobiloo @MobilooUK
Hey @bristolballoon crew - this is where we are for the next 3 days!

Please tell anyone you know going who needs hoist assisted changing.

@ToPeeOrNot #Bristol #BristolBalloonFiesta @CPPBristol @WECILBristol @KinnyWECIL @wheelingnable https://t.co/xLq1bw2XQe