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Whizz-Kidz is working to transform the lives of young wheelchair users in the UK. Our blogs feature the personal stories and opinions of some of the brilliant people helping us to do this – our supporters, healthcare professionals, staff and (most importantly) the young people we work with.

Blog Archive

  • Bah! Humbug! It’s time to put away A Christmas Carol and end the disabling stereotype of ‘Tiny Tim’

    Ruth Owen by Ruth Owen

    Bah! Humbug! It’s time to put away A Christmas Carol and end the disabling stereotype of ‘Tiny Tim’ says Ruth Owen, CEO of Whizz-kidz charity “For many of my generation and older, modern Christmas is welcomed in far too early, (supermarket trees were up in October this year) is too commercial and, anyway, it’s not really the festive season until Noddy Holder sings! For a much younger generation- the girls and boys at infant, junior or senior school or college and university, facing the challenges of a society simply not built for wheelchair users, Christmas is also a time of year when they are subjected to media images of the disabled as ‘in need’ or ‘wanting help’. Our charity, Whizz-kidz, has been, in all honesty, probably as guilty as everyone else, in that we have to raise funds to provide the vital work we do, and the stark reality is that people do give donations to charities this time of year for all sorts of emotional reasons- some altruistic and some from a sense of ‘giving for giving’s sake’. It isn’t for us to question that: we are all too grateful for the funds that allow us to help children get the wheelchair they need and the support they deserve. But. And it is a very important but. But… while we have to be grateful for the season of ‘A Christmas Carol’, we have also to acknowledge that the stereotype of Tiny Tim simply has no place in the world today. Charles Dickens was writing about the people and institutions of his time and, in satirising the age in which he lived, he focussed on the poor child with a crutch as an example of a society that didn’t care much for its youngest and its’ weakest. Today, Whizz-kidz and other young people’s charities are working to present a 21st Century vision of young people, living and achieving despite their disabilities; one in which every person should be given the opportunity to live a dynamic, positive and fulfilling life, and where the young are no longer seen in terms of “crutches” – societal, charitable, real or imagined. There is no place for false sentimentality, only a sense that we need to be more inclusive, more fair and more understanding of different people’s very differing needs. Young wheelchair users today have absolutely nothing in common with Tiny Tim, aside from their age, their grit and tenacity. We should all fight against the idea that they are ‘Tiny Tims’ or to be ‘pitied’ and we should all look to the world of 2020 and beyond, where children who use wheelchairs are accepted as just as lively, bright, clever and engaged as any other. Which is why we work with brilliant campaigners and actors, such as Samantha Renke and Ruth Madeley, (who is currently appearing at the Donmar Warehouse), to break the mistaken out-dated view of disability as a ‘handicap’ and see people as people, not out of date stereotypes. So, in wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and peaceful New Year, please remember that Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim were all fictional characters, and, just like the old cobbled streets and the soot-laden roofs are, thankfully, consigned to history, the pages of a well-thumbed book and a dim and distant memory.”

  • Why I’m watching Netflix’s Raising Dion

    Lexian by Lexian

    Kidz board member Lexi recently started watching Netflix's new superhero show 'Raising Dion'. In this blog, she tells us why she likes the series which incorporates representation in a variety of ways, from featuring a majority black cast to casting Sammi Haney, a young wheelchair user. Lexi sent some questions to Sammi and she got back to us with a answer video

  • Rock n Roll and Me

    Conor by Conor

    Conor is a member of our Kidz Board and has a love for rock music. He loves to attend live music venues to watch his favourite bands perform. Unfortunately, even in 2019 there is still a large amount of inaccessible venues and this can lead to Conor feeling excluded sometimes.

  • Volunteers Week 2019

    Whizz-Kidz by Whizz-Kidz

    Volunteers’ Week is a time to say thank you for the fantastic contribution volunteers make. Here we are recognising some of the Whizz-Kidz volunteers who help us do the work that we love to do,

  • Life comes a “Full Circle”

    Somo by Somo

    Somo Global recently conducted a Hack Day, aimed at finding accessible solutions for wheelchair users. Priya – Somos Client Solutions Director, and the lead of the winning Full Circle project – wrote a post on what inspired her to come up with the idea of Full Circle and how this solution can help wheelchair users.

  • Kira’s leaving words

    Kira by Kira

    Kira was announced as Chair of Kidz Board in January 2018. Since then she has gone on to be a confident, powerful, opinionated voice for Whizz-Kidz. We are extremely proud and grateful for all of the hard word that Kira has put in. Kira has now decided to step down from Kidz Board and pass the baton on. Here we have some leaving words from Kira detailing her experience with Whizz-Kidz and where she plans to go next.

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