I’ve always been proud of my work as a journalist. Being self-employed and finding my own work to fit with my own disability is something I’ve always had pride in. It is my work with my disability. Sadly the moment I hoped would never come has arrived. I am having to crowdfund to help me stay in work because Access to Work isn’t working.
If I’m honest I probably should have seen it coming given the way Access to Work have been treating me; failing to make necessary and vital reasonable adjustments during the application process, delaying my renewal decision-making and asking me to meet conditions that other people aren’t asked to meet to get the funding after it has already been agreed.
All of this has combined to leave me without an income for four months. It has also meant that another disability has returned, instead of being well on it’s way to going into remission before the my work situation kicked off in October.
My desire to work
My crowdfunding campaign is about more than covering support worker costs for me, it’s about also highlighting, despite all these wonderful schemes to get disabled people better represented in all types of employment, when one vital area of support breaks down the barriers disabled people then face to keep themselves afloat and in their careers can become insurmountable.
As a journalist and presenter I spend a lot of my time in newsrooms championing disabled voices, constantly pitching stories that matter to the disabled community, making sure disability is represented correctly and holding people, organisations or government departments to account when accessibility or policy goes wrong. I also spend a lot of time courtside, making sure wheelchair tennis and para-sport in general gets the mainstream media coverage it deserves every week of every year, not just at the Paralympics.
It’s a career I love and has seen me be able to travel around the world and really make a difference. Young disabled people need to see themselves represented in all walks of life and employment. I believe that by appearing on screen or analysing sport on-line with my pink wheelchair and wonky body, it will encourage other disabled people to dream big and consider a career in the media. This is why this campaign is an important step towards improvement of much needed representation.
I need your help
I’m continuing to fight until deadline day on January 4th to keep my career alive. My target is just £900 – significantly shorter than the total cost that I’m going to incur. If you would like to help, please visit my crowd-funding page for more information.
I’d also ask please can you share this article to help raise awareness. Together, we can increase coverage needed for parasport in the UK and wider.