we were here 18 years ago delivering a letter to Tony Blair.
We did not quite fit into the Disabled People’s Movement as we were marched at the front of the Anti- Austerity March with “Disabled People Against the Cuts” on Saturday June 20th down to Parliament Square.
But I am not sure where we did fit in? It would have been great to have been there with other parents of disabled children and young people although for many this was impossible – too hard to organise, no child care, no extra money to pay for the travel, and Saturdays are a tidying up day or a family day out day or a day to recover from the busy week.
The cuts/savings have already impacted many of us and worse is yet to come. What a powerful message it would have been to have met up and joined together to show this present government that they can no longer take away or reduce the numbers of our Teaching Assistants, our Direct Payments, our Youth Services, our CAHMS, our benefits, Independent Living Fund, our Play Services, money for playgrounds, our Wheelchair Services and god forbid our wonderful NHS. Many of us have kids who would definitely not be alive if it was not for the NHS. The list goes on and will go on.
I was proud to be with my daughter Nadia, pleased to take part and to show that we care enough to travel all the way to Halifax and back – exhausting trip with gear, electric wheelchair, extra batteries for the communication aid, rain gear, sun gear, food, drink all making up our own protest survival kit. On Friday we were at a gig in Leeds, outdoors watching Paulo Nutini who is a family favourite so were also recovering from too much fun the night before!
For Nadia it feels a confusing time – we walk on egg shells as her 7th Social Worker has clearly told her that there is no money for her to live independently. Thanks to Calderdale Social Care topping up the ILF they will not increase her budget any more so that she can live independently. Imagine being told that at 23yrs old when you have gone right through mainstream school, college with plans to carry on your education, get a job, have a relationship and of course leave home.
At 23 years old Nadia does not want to have to be particularly political. She wants to understand herself, who she is, where she fits in to society, and she wants a life. A life full of the things that 23 years olds want to do like keep learning, hang out, go to festivals, travel and meet new people.
No one will truly understand the challenges to having a life unless they are disabled and have been through it themselves. So all I can do is to tell her how proud I am to have her as my daughter. To tell her she is one in a billion! To tell her she is the most amazing incredible person I have ever met.