George Osborne: Save social care! Let me and all disabled people live with freedom and dignity. Petition by Angela Murray (Click here to sign)
I’m a 28 year old woman but if they take away my social care it’ll be the end of my life. I’m disabled but I want to enjoy life the way any other young woman can. Thanks to social care I have two volunteer jobs, I can go shopping, see my friends.
But because of the cuts they’re threatening to take this support away – leaving me isolated at home, forcing me to go to bed at 9.30 every night, not even able to go to the toilet. George Osborne is about to decide how to spend our country’s money for the next two years, tell him to fund social care for disabled people!
I live in Luton and I’ve got lots of friends here. In my spare time I love going round to see my mates, going out shopping …or hanging out at home on Facebook!
I did a degree in psychology and criminal behaviour. It was interesting but nothing like CSI! During one of the seminars, I met a representative from Headway, the spinal brain injury charity. When I left university, I realised I’d need some work experience on my CV so I went there to volunteer. I’ve been there for the last two and a half years. I won Luton’s Volunteer of the Year Award last year.
I’m constantly looking for paid work. I don’t sit around watching TV, I never have, I don’t believe in that. I would love to get a paid job. I have tried. I’ve been for interviews for customer services and as a support worker. Even though we are supposed to have equal opportunities, people still look at my wheelchair.
I was hit by a car when I was two. I have a spinal brain injury which has affected my left side. I can’t walk because I have no balance so I’ve been using an electric chair since I was 11.
But it hasn’t stopped me. When I turned 18, Social Services helped me find a place to live and be independent. Social care gave me total freedom to get up, go to bed, go to the toilet and settle into my new home and life. With decent social care I’ve been able to do whatever I want.
Moving into my own home was scary but the best thing I ever did. I stopped being this disabled girl that needed to be looked after. I was an adult now and I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and play by my own rules.
With decent social care I’ve had the freedom to do whatever I want. I can go out and enjoy life the way any other young woman can. I have two volunteer jobs, I can go shopping, see my friends.
Suddenly out of the blue recently they’ve tried to cut my care – from 20 hours care a day down to three. I was shocked, upset and angry. I tried to negotiate with the woman at the Council and was told “life’s not perfect for anyone”. I don’t expect it to be perfect but I want to have a life like any young woman.
I’d have no freedom. I’d have to be in bed at 9.30pm and get up at 7.30am, no way to go to the toilet in the night either. My carer wouldn’t have time to cook me fresh food (microwave horsemeat lasagne here I come!).
Imagine living this life for the next 50 years. If I was stuck with that forever, I would give up and lose my passion for living. I would find a way to end my life.
What I’m asking for isn’t unreasonable. I just want flexibility and freedom and a little help. I’m not asking for someone to be with me 24 hours a day. But I do want dignity and I do want freedom. If I wasn’t in this wheelchair I would have those things, so why shouldn’t I.
What’s worse is it isn’t just me and it isn’t just about reducing how much support people get. They’re taking away support completely for some disabled people. Every disabled person who needs care should get it, this is about the basic dignity and freedom to live our lives.
George Osborne is about to decide how the government spends its money — our money — for the next two years. Tell him he’s got to fund social care! They spent more than a billion pounds just on the Olympics village where the athletes stayed last year, can’t they put at least that much into social care for us?