George from Surrey, is a very active and passionate Whizz-Kidz Ambassador. As Chair of our Kidz Board, George hears and understands the experiences of our Ambassadors all across the UK and helps to represent their voices.
'I have cerebral palsy which affects my movement and coordination. I received a manual wheelchair from the NHS when I was eight. My experience of NHS wheelchairs is that they are too heavy and too big, which makes it very hard to self-propel. This, in turn, takes away your independence and limits your prospects in life. I also found that through the NHS I was only given a restricted choice of wheelchairs and none of them were really suitable for my needs.
'My involvement with Whizz-Kidz has made me realise the importance of patients being involved in decisions about their care and looking at people as people, instead of a series of symptoms and conditions. My experience of Whizz-Kidz is that they listen and deliver results in creative ways.
'After I applied to Whizz-Kidz I received a lightweight manual chair. Having the right wheelchair means that I am in control of my own life and I am free to do what I want, and my family are also free to do as they want because they don’t have to support me all the time. Having the right chair has also opened up my school life because I don’t need a personal assistant to take me to and from classes. I am now at university and am making the most of being independent there!
'From the very beginning of my journey with Whizz-Kidz, I wanted to take advantage of all the services available to me and have got stuck in with a lot of things and have met some great people. I have really got the 'bug' that is Whizz-Kidz and after two years on the Kidz Board, I was very proud to become the Kidz Board Chair. Through the Kidz Board I feel like I’m able to make a difference and help to decide the direction of the charity, which is very exciting.
'As Chair I have had access to a wealth of experiences. I have met David Cameron and Chris Martin; given speeches in front of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls; I have been interviewed live on BBC and Sky News; and I represented Whizz-Kidz at the Transport Select Committee and the London Health Commission Evidence Session.
'With the support of the Work Placement team, I also undertook a 5-week paid stint at Lockton, an insurance firm in London. This was one of the best experiences of my life. It was so much fun, but more than that, I learned so much and got to feel like I was part of the team.
In July 2013, I appeared on Channel 4 News alongside fellow Whizz-Kidz Ambassador, Sanjay. Channel 4 have a 'No Go Britain' campaign and we featured in a section which questionned ‘Is employment equality working for disabled people?’. The programme investigated the difficulties that young disabled people face getting into employment and showed how Whizz-Kidz’s Work Placements scheme is helping to break down the barriers.
'Whizz-Kidz is so much more than the wheelchair they give you – because of this charity, I am a more rounded person, capable of getting a good job and having the life I want.'
- George is a great role model to other disabled children like Malachi
- George with Ed Balls MP