I have been involved with Whizz-Kidz for almost as long I can remember. They funded equipment for me years ago, so I know first-hand the freedoms and opportunities the right wheelchair can bring.
Suddenly you feel secure and can be adventurous - if you asked my wheelchair it would tell you exactly how adventurous I've been! I have two both a BA and a Masters in English Literature so as you might imagine I am a self-confessed bookworm, but I am also an avid swimmer and enjoy choir singing. I love taking on any challenges that come my way, and returning to Whizz-Kidz as a volunteer this year has let me embrace many more.
At 26 years old, I am a proud member of that first generation of Whizz-Kidz beneficiaries, so nothing felt more natural than starting to volunteer. It feels like an inclusive space where I can channel all my knowledge with a great sense of purpose.
In my first volunteer role I helped out at a Whizz-Kidz quarterly event in London. This brought together ambassadors from clubs all over the South East for a wheelchair skills training session in the Tate Modern. I am happy to say that the ambassadors kept me on my toes but I didn’t stay rusty for long! We then took to the streets to make our way to the Imperial War Museum, and on the journey London threw up a few of its own wheelchair skills obstacles.
These weren’t as simple as the familiar plastic cones we use in training, but for me that walk was the best part of the day. Why? Because young people were out in the city, negotiating the chaos just the same as any other pedestrian, perhaps managing it even better.
I have always been passionate about equal opportunities for disabled people. Over the last ten years I have asked myself a lot of confusing questions about things like employment, education and independent living. When Whizz-Kidz approached me about becoming a mentor I enthusiastically said yes. I knew I could empower young people to find their own answers and achieve their goals. Now I have completed my training I feel excited and ready to move forwards. It’s still early days, but I feel so inspired by this service that Whizz-Kidz are beginning to develop. I can’t wait to see how much I will grow with it as I take my next steps as a volunteer.