Sally from Essex has athetoid cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user. Before she received her first powered wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz, she had to depend on others to move around. Since getting a powered wheelchair, Sally has become a lot more independent and has been able to pursue her passion for wheelchair football – as well as completing a work experience placement.
‘My first encounter with Whizz-Kidz was when I received my powered chair from them when I was four. My new wheelchair meant a lot to me. Before then, I couldn’t go out into the playground at school on my own, or with my friends; I always had to have a dinner lady push me around. I couldn’t navigate hills or small spaces with my chair, I felt isolated and not very confident.
'My new chair gave me independence and enabled me to start playing wheelchair football, which would not be possible if I couldn’t drive my chair. After discovering wheelchair football, I have never looked back! I’m now a player and a coach for two different teams – I really enjoy it. My sporting heroes are Hannah Cockroft [who received her first sports wheelchair from Whizz-Kidz and is now a double Paralympic gold medallist] and Lee Pearson [Paralympic gold medallist in para-equestrianism]. I even met Hannah at the Paralympic Games in London, which was very exciting!
'Not only has Whizz-Kidz opened up this door for me, it has also helped me think about my career and my future. Recently, when my friends were setting up work experience for themselves, my school told me that it was difficult for organisations to cater for disabled people and suggested that I stay in school whilst my class mates did work experience. I didn't want to do that and miss out, so I contacted Whizz-Kidz.
'The Whizz-Kidz Work Placements team gave me the opportunity to spend some time every week in the charity's headquarters, doing a range of tasks. I really enjoyed it! The highlight for me was meeting and working with lots of different people, as well as finding more about Whizz-Kidz. I found using a computer in the office the most challenging, but I persevered and enjoyed the satisfaction of completing projects on my own.
'Having work experience at Whizz-Kidz has helped me think about my future career. When I leave school, I think I would like to work for a charity and so the next step I want to take is to become a Young Leader at my Ambassador Club in Southend, to gain some more experience.
'I think that work experience opens your eyes to the world that we’re all going to have to go into when we grow up and leave school. My placement at Whizz-Kidz HQ was the crucial first step to finding a job that I'll love in the future.'