Tag Archives: Campaigns

The hidden sex lives of disabled people – End the Awkward

Alice is a disability rights activist and journalist. As part of our End the Awkward campaign, she shares her views on the media’s portrayal of sex and disability.

Content note: this blog references offensive disablist language and contains discussions about sex.

Disabled people don’t have sex, do they? It certainly seems that way as our sex lives are so rarely represented in the media, if at all.

Have you ever seen a disabled person having sex in a film, TV program, or a mainstream porno? Me neither.

We are a generation which loves to talk about sex, so why aren’t disabled people part of the conversation? Why are our sex lives are being hidden? And why are we being desexualised? We are consistently portrayed as people who never get our leg over and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

However, things have started to change with Maltesers recent ad campaign. The brand launched three disability-themed adverts which premiered on the opening night of the Paralympic Games, and one in-particular really stood out to me.

A text description of the advert is available at the end of this blog post.

Three women are sat around chatting about sex and one (who is a wheelchair user) talks about getting frisky with her boyfriend who didn’t complain when her hand started spasming! Funnily enough Storme Toolis who plays the part is thought to be the only disabled actor to ever have had a sex scene on UK TV.

It is hard to put into words just how happy I was to see this advert, it reminded me of the conversations I have had with friends leaving them in stitches when sharing my sex stories.

Disability in the bedroom

I have spasms and seizures, and I have them when I’m in bed. This can make sex both awkward and absolutely hilarious, not too different from non-disabled sex right?

In the past I’ve had to explain to a partner that my legs weren’t shaking because I’d had an orgasm – they were going into a spasm.

I’ve also come round from seizures before and not remembered who the person on top of me was. You can’t really get much more awkward then that, especially when you’re in a long term relationship!

Disability certainly keeps sex interesting and there are also some perks. Having so many seizures during sex forces me and my partner to have regular breaks which means it usually lasts much longer then it would without them. And telling people I’m disabled early on is also a great dickhead-filter, especially when online dating. You’d be amazed at how many people have stopped talking to me once they discovered I was disabled, but this has meant I’ve only ever met up with open minded people who I know I can trust to get into bed with.

Having barriers in the bedroom also means disabled people have to be more creative and our sex lives are often far from vanilla, trust me. Look at Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability if you want to find out more!

End the awkward

Maltesers are paving the way to end the awkwardness around sex and disability, but there is a long way to go yet. This is evident from some of the online comments left on the advert such as: “Retards who have sex are disgusting.” And: “I don’t really understand how disabled ‘people’ can be sexual beings without having souls.”

These attitudes need to be challenged, and the best way to do that is for more brands and broadcasters to follow in Maltesers footsteps. The more disabled people’s sex lives are accurately represented, the better perceptions will become. I hope one day I can turn on my TV and see disabled characters (played by disabled actors) having sex and for it not be out of the ordinary.

Beyond the bedroom

But this goes beyond sex, Scope’s 2016 Disability In The Media Study found that 80 percent of disabled people felt underrepresented by TV and the media on the whole.

It seems like this is only addressed for a few weeks every four years when the Paralympics comes around and this needs to change. We are the world’s largest minority group and we need representation every day of the year.

So decision makers, please don’t stop broadcasting about disability just because the games are over, let’s keep it on the box, and while you’re at it why not start representing disabled people’s sex lives too?

Read more End the Awkward blogs, or get involved in the campaign by submitting your awkward story.

Video description: Three women sat outside around a picnic bench. The person telling the story is a wheelchair user and she is holding a bag of Maltesers in her hand. As she tells the story she shakes the bag and chocolates spill over the table. Her friends looked shocked at first but then everyone laughs. Text reads: “Look on the light side”.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Francesca, the theatre star

Francesca Mills is a 20 year old actor who has achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism. She is currently on tour with a Ramps on the Moon production,of the Government Inspector where she plays Maria.

As part of our 30 Under 30 campaign, she talks about inclusiveness in the industry and her top tips for breaking into the world of theatre.

Kids who are interested in performing arts and children who have gone to drama school are much more open-minded and much more accepting. They just love anything diverse. So this meant that breaking into the industry was never an issue for me. No-one has ever been like ‘you can’t do that because you’re disabled’, my family and friend are always 100% behind me.

Changing attitudes

I think roles in theatre for disabled people are very important in changing attitudes towards disability.

Audiences are very accepting without realising it. If you’re out on the street just living everyday life, you’ll get stares and people don’t quite understand but if you walk on stage playing a character, it’s different. Maybe in the first two minutes an audience member might be thinking ‘oh that’s a little person’, but then they’ve completely forgotten and they’re completely on board with what you’re doing.

It may also make them think ‘why do I over-think this? Disability really isn’t a big thing, it’s fine’.

It’s also really important for kids to see disabled actors represented in roles of authority. In the show I’m doing now we have a deaf judge, who’s also a woman, which is brilliant.

A group of disabled actors perform on stage. Fran, a young woman with dwarfism, smiles as a man with a cane kisses her hand.

How the industry has changed

I’m growing up in a time where people are starting to realise they should do projects that are inclusive. I’m lucky in a way that I’ve mainly seen the positive. People older than me have memories of a lot more prejudice. They’ve had a much more tough time which is good to know about because people can appreciate how it’s changed and how things are getting better.  It’s on the way up.

From my experience, a lot of casting directors are becoming more versatile and opening their gates to disabled actors for parts that aren’t specifically disabled parts. If they have a brief for a blonde haired girl with blue eyes, they might open it up to someone with an impairment and it’s not an issue.

I think we’ve still got a long way to go but it’s better than what it was.

Advice for others

If you really want to do it, just go for it, even if people question it. My motto is ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’. If you want to get into acting think about how you’re going to do that.

Get involved in local amateur productions just to get some confidence, like I used to do. See if local theatres are auditioning. If you’ve got an appetite for it just go for it and everything else will fall into place.

Just have fun and enjoy it because it really is the best job in the world.

Top tips for breaking into the industry

Enjoy yourself

Have fun and let people know that you’re having fun, it’s really nice to see! I did Peter Pan in Wimbledon. I was playing Tinkerbell and there were kids playing the Lost Boys. Just seeing their faces when they were in the theatre and how excited they were was amazing. It’s just a really nice quality to have.

Go to the theatre

It’s important to go to actual shows and enjoy shows and see as many as you can.

Learn from everyone

Watch people and learn from them. With the amount of actors that you come across, make sure you ask questions. Watch their technique and etiquette. You can pick up a lot from people.

Never be late!

I’m ridiculous with how early I am. It makes you more relaxed when you get to the theatre and have plenty of time. Never leave anything until the last minute. Give yourself time to settle ahead of a brilliant day.

A large group of disabled actors perform on stage in a theatre. They are looking out to the audience with shocked faces.

Francesca is sharing her story as part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Read more from our #30toWatch on our website.

Watch Francesca perform in one of our End The Awkward shorts from last year.

 

“Be a bit brave, take part and go for it.” Jack, the volunteering star

30 under 30 logo

This story is part of 30 Under 30.

 

This Volunteers’ Week, we spoke to one of our volunteering and Scope for Change stars, Jack Welch, who gives much of his time to a number of different charities.

As part of 30 Under 30, he talks about how volunteering has benefited him. Several of the organisations he has volunteered for have also sent in some glowing testimonials.

Volunteering is a way to explore new opportunities and different ways of working. You can also meet new people and develop your networks. It’s the variety that’s always the most exciting!

I think there is a lot out there for people to get stuck into. Volunteering for charities doesn’t just mean volunteering in a charity shop – there are loads of different things you can do.

For me, volunteering has helped me to build on social skills, communicate with others and be a bit more independent. You really develop that over time. Although it’s volunteering, there’s an expectation of having a skillset that you need to commit yourself to.

Jack, a young disabled man, smiles and talks to a room

It gave me the opportunity to move away from some of the troubles I had at secondary school. I’m not as anxious as I used to be. It’s been great to have a bit more independence away from home and the family. I’ve really expanded and broadened my networks beyond the safety of my closest relatives.

It’s really changed me. Five or six years ago, the thought of using public transport would have terrified me but now it’s just second nature. I travel quite a lot for my volunteering.

For someone thinking about volunteering, I would say go for it. If you spot something that might develop your skill set, help you move into employment or meet new people, get involved!

Be a bit brave, take part and go for it.

Testimonials for Jack

Jack has left a lasting impression at all of the charities and organisations he has worked for.  Below are just a handful of the glowing testimonials given to us by some of these organisations.

Jessica Benham, Outreach Officer for Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

“Jack has been working with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for four years. He has attended workshops, engaged with Holocaust survivors and raised awareness about the Holocaust and subsequent genocides amongst his peers. Jack has been an exceptional member of the Youth Champion Board, contributing to the development of the Youth Champion programme to ensure that people aged 14-24 are empowered to hold their own activities for Holocaust Memorial Day.”

Find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Dave Thompson, the Director of Dorset Youth Association

“We first met Jack many years ago as a quiet and shy young man.

Through the years we have seen him develop and grow as he has become involved in more and more community projects. Jack was heavily involved in our Young Remembers project which looked at the History of Dorset Youth Association (DYA) over 70 years. Jack and his peers were so passionate about their heritage and wished to continue to meet as a group to volunteer. Therefore staff at DYA attracted new monies to support the group in a major fundraising initiative. This investment attracted almost £40,000 and led to a new youth led project Walking in their Shoes.

Jack is always polite and pleased to volunteer his time to help others.”

Find out more about Dorset Youth Association.

Amber DeRosa, Participation Officer at the National Children’s Bureau

“Jack has been an active member of Young National Children’s Bureau (YNCB) since 2015. During this time, he has been actively engaged in a range of activities and events including speaking at conferences, debates and meetings, campaigning work and taking part in various discussion groups and consultations.

Jack is a delightful young person to work with. He continually makes valued and thoughtful contributions to NCB’s various programmes of work and through this he genuinely makes a big difference to the lives of other children and young people. He is hugely reliable and very dedicated to the activities which he volunteers to be a part of and is extremely popular across all of NCB!”

Find out more about National Children’s Bureau.

Harris Lorie, Programme Manager for Spirit of 2012

“Jack has been a highly committed and valued member of Spirit of 2012’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP). His contributions in our meetings are measured and thoughtful, drawing on a wide range of experience. He has assessed grant applications sensitively, impressing both other YAP members and the Spirit staff team. Jack volunteers enthusiastically for opportunities that come up, be that visits to our projects or attending a national gathering of youth panels. He always represents Spirit professionally, and creates great communications material for us as well. Thank you Jack!”

Find out more about Spirit of 2012.

Jack, a young disabled man, stands next to a banner which says "Volunteering matters to young people. 96% of volunteers feel better prepared for employment"

Jack is sharing his story as part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Catch up on all the stories so far on our 30 Under 30 page.

If you’ve been inspired by Jack, take a look at our volunteering opportunities.

Our new Stories and Campaigns hubs

Do you love a good story? Are you passionate about campaigning?

You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve just launched new pages which will contain all of our latest and greatest content.

Stories and Campaigns are so important to the work that we do at Scope, so we’ve given them brand new homes on our website with their own hub pages.

Stories

Stories are at the heart of everything we do here at Scope. The brand new stories hub will be your gateway to all of the best blogs and stories content we produce.

From here, you’ll be able to see our latest stories, find out how to contact the team and tell us your very own experiences.

Keep a look out on this page to stay up to date with our latest stories campaigns and content.

Visit the Stories hub.

Get in touch with the stories team if you’d like to share your story.

A young man videos himself using a digital slr camera

Campaigns

We campaign on a local and national level to change attitudes and to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

From here, you will see opportunities to get involved and updates on our current campaigns including, End The Awkward, Scope for Change and School Role Models.

Visit the Campaigns hub.

Be sure to bookmark these pages and stay tuned for brand new stories and news on our campaigning work.

#Attenborough90: Why nature should be accessible for all

Ellie is one of our Scope for Change young campaigners. Here she talks about how David Attenborough inspired her to fall in love with nature, and why she believes everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy it. Ellie standing in a corridor, wearing a blue jumper with a dog on it, and smiling

An inspiration

From a young age, I remember waiting in anticipation on a Sunday evening for the latest wildlife programme, narrated by the voice of the natural world, Sir David Attenborough. He’s ensured the BBC have covered a wide diversity of animals from dung beetles to red kites, to snow leopards over the years. This week he turned 90, and the nation has been celebrating by re-visiting many of his iconic TV highlights, such as when he was preened by mountain gorillas in 1979 for Life on Earth.

David Attenborough has inspired many people in this country and the world to stand up and take notice of the animals and plants we share the earth with. As a result, people are more actively involved with local and national wildlife charities, learning about conservation and many have been inspired to work in the industry.

Everyone has a right to enjoy nature

Only a couple of weeks ago, David Attenborough opened Woodberry Wetlands, a new nature reserve owned by the London Wildlife Trust, which is accessible to all. In an interview with BBC news, he talks about the importance of access reserves:

“We are part of it and if we lose contact with the natural world, you lose contact with a great source of pleasure and delight which is your birth right.”

Disappointing experiences

I regularly walk to my local community garden. It’s brimming with wildlife and it’s where I take many photos of toads, grasshoppers and buzzards. My favourite animals are insects, especially butterflies.

Last year I looked into volunteering with my local butterfly conservation charity, as I wanted to learn how to survey species and the different tools used to conserve them. I don’t drive because my cerebral palsy and learning difficulties effect my hand-eye coordination. So I tried to find alternative public transport to get me to the nature reserve, but because I live in such a large county, a lot of the transport isn’t very regular. You have to really plan in advance to make sure you can get home.

In the end, I decided not pursue the role because of the practicalities in getting there and back. It made me feel down because I knew in my heart it was something I really wanted to do, but due to circumstances it wasn’t realistic. It’s a shame there aren’t organisations working with the major environmental and wildlife charities to support more disabled people to get into conservation. I very much doubt I’m the only person with a disability who’s wanted to be involved in this area and been let down.

Getting my ideas together

Though not all has been lost! I’ve had really positive experiences with my local Wildlife Trust. I’ve been involved in various activities, such as getting teenagers interested in getting outside, and supporting primary school children to build insect hotels. At the beginning of this year I was invited along with four other volunteers to be part of Darwin’s Childhood Garden project. We were all asked to contribute something to the project, and I decided to run a workshop for children with disabilities from a local school. We’re now in the process of waiting for funding for it, but in the meantime, I’m wanting to create greater awareness about why nature should be accessible to all.

My campaign to make nature more accessible

‘All for nature and nature for all’ is the name of my campaign. I want to further educate those working in the conservation sector to make sites of natural interest as accessible as possible: providing ramps up to bird hides, having blue badge parking spaces, braille or audio information boards, allowing assistance dogs, and accessible toilets. I’d also love more exclusive workshops that allow disabled people to participate as much everyone else, and having resources such has easy-read, Makaton and BSL signers and accessible transport when needed. Opening up the senses in particular for those with profound and multiple disabilities is so important – and where better to do that than a national park?

I would like to see that nobody is left behind in my campaign. This week, wildlife presenter Chris Packham opened up about his life with Asperger’s. It really highlighted to me that we need to do more, so that many other disabled people feel they can be involved with the natural world.

Ellie would love to hear from disabled people about their experiences at nature and wildlife reserves – the good and bad! Whether you volunteer yourself at your local wildlife park, or have an experience to share from a trip to your local nature reserve, it will really help Ellie to build her campaign. Please leave a comment below. 

“We are reinvigorating the disability movement” – Scope For Change launches

Scope For Change is a unique scheme from Scope to train a new generation of young disabled campaigners. In April 2016, the first recruits attended a training bootcamp to learn the latest campaign skills and tactics.

 

Young disabled people who we speak to say there are still too many barriers in society that prevent them from doing the day-to-day things that many people take for granted.

Much of this is down to the physical and attitudinal barriers people face along with the negative attitudes towards disability.

Through this weekend, we hoped to give young disabled people the skills they will need to create their own campaigns to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Rosemary Frazer, Campaigns Manager at Scope, said “This has been a long time in the planning but it’s been worth every second of it. The positive feedback that we have had from everyone who attended shows that this hard work has really paid off.”

“Watching the campaigners getting stuck into their campaigning and getting excited about learning new skills was very emotional for me. I was reminded of myself at that age and how I was determined to campaign for disability equality through getting the Disability Discrimination Act.”

“I feel the future of disability campaigning is in very safe hands and I have no doubt that these young activists will achieve great things.”

As Charlie Willis said, these young campaigners hope that they can play their part in “invigorating the disability movement”.

We campaign on a local and national level to change attitudes and to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Visit our website to find out more about campaigning with Scope.

 

New year, new goals: what change will you make in 2016?

Have you given up already on all those New Year resolutions you made?  Here is one promise which we can help you fulfill: help change the world in 2016 by applying to our campaign network Scope for Change.  There is only a few days left before applications close so what are you waiting for?

We usually find ourselves searching for ways to lose weight and promise to get fit,  learn another language or finally get around to clearing out that store cupboard which makes us want to scream each time we open it to cram yet another unwanted household item inside.

Be realistic

My own  goal for 2016 is to try a new experience each month. I have to admit to taking the easy option at times so each of my new experiences don’t necessarily involve vigorous exercise!  It may be visiting a new place or learning a new skill without having to put too much pressure on myself. Whatever happens, 2016 won’t be dull.

You never know where campaigning will take you

Sulaiman posing for a photo with Baroness CampbellOne of the things I love most about my job in campaigning is the exciting challenges and opportunities I have to work on exciting in innovative campaigns such as Scope’s A-Z of sex and disability  which had me Tweeting all manner of content that I never thought I’d be doing.  This is the wonderful thing about campaigning, you  can never tell where it will take you.

Change your world in 2016

I love a challenge, and we are sure you do too.  This is why Scope is offering campaigners who are passionate about disability equality issues and aged between 18 and 25, the opportunity to learn new skills and improve your existing campaigning tactics.

Our Scope for Change campaigns network will offer you training on the best use of film, social media, story telling, Blogging, Vlogging, tactics, strategy and planning to make your campaigns stand out from the crowd.

You will also be supported throughout the course by expert campaigners and be supported by  Mentor who will offer support and advice throughout your campaigning journey.

2016 is the year to make that change in your world  so please apply to join us on this exciting adventure.  Who knows where it might lead? The applications close on 17 January, so what are you waiting for?  Who knows it might lead?

The best campaigns of 2015

As we approach the end of a busy campaigning year here at Scope, we’ve been reflecting on which campaigns have got us talking and why they were so successful. 

What is a campaign?

Campaigns take many forms such as  advertising campaigns, fundraising, political, awareness raising or those designed to make people think and act differently on a particular issue.

Crisis and Conflictsyria-london-final-hed-2014

This year has been a busy one for campaigners, not least because of the UK General Election. But we have also had war, terrorist attacks and a refugee crisis which was the focus of much campaigning.

Save the Children’s If London Were Syria campaign, depicting the horrors of war in Syria as though happening to child in London through very good use of film,  stood out in the minds of many of us.  Save The Children’s harrowing Most Shocking Second a Day video has had over 50 million views on Youtube alone.

In response to the horrors of the attacks in Paris in January and again in November we had the Twitter #Je suis Charlie and Facebook’s tricolor which allowed social media users to show their solidarity with those who had lost loved ones in France.

Body beautiful?

We live in an era where we are very conscious of our bodies and how we look.  The campaign This Girl Can encouraged girls to get into sport and physical activity. We loved the energy in this campaign and the positive message that regardless of your body type, everyone can be more active. The soundtrack accompanying this ad, Get Your Freak On by Missy Elliot really hit the spot.

 A very different campaign on body image created a lot of debate and controversy. The Beach Body Ready ad campaign attempted to portray the ‘perfect’ body and spawned many spoofs of the original billboard ads, such as that below.

lastminute_beach body campaign_800x419 RGB (2)

Celebrating disabled people’s lives

Here at Scope it has been a fantastic and busy year for campaigns.  We launched the second part of End the Awkward and our A-Z of Sex and Disability, building on the success of our original campaign from 2014.

The campaign challenges people’s attitudes towards disability through a series of blogs, infographics and short films aired on Channel 4.

We had a wonderful response to these campaigns and many people said their attitudes were challenged after watching the films and reading the blogs.  Disabled people who led on these campaigns said they felt empowered by telling their stories and showing disabled people’s lives in a different way.Whitehall

2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act.  This was my personal favourite as it reminded me why I got involved in campaigning.  The DDA was the first piece of legislation giving disabled people in the UK some protection from discrimination.

Through films, archive footage and blogs, we told the stories of those disabled campaigners who fought tirelessly to get disability issues onto the political agenda.  We  wanted to inspire the next generation of disabled activists to build on the success of campaigners of the 1990’s and bring real equality to disabled people.

Are you ready to change your world?

Scope is launching Scope for Change, a 10 month campaigns training programme for disabled activists aged 18-25.

If you want your campaigns to be the most talked about then apply to join our training programme and change your world.

Scope for Change – get involved and change the country

Today we are opening applications for Scope’s new campaign training programme ‘Scope for Change’.

Between the ages of 18 and 25 and want to learn campaigning skills? Then find out more and apply for the new programme.

Young disabled people who we speak to say there are still too many barriers in society that prevent them from doing the day-to-day things that many people take for granted.

Much of this is down to the physical and attitudinal barriers people face along with the negative attitudes towards disability.

Thankfully we know that young disabled people from across the country are passionate about making a Britain a better place. We want to hear from these people who want to campaign for change, meet new friends and learn new skills.

Rebecca’s campaigning

Rebecca Bunce is a campaigner who’s learnt valuable campaigning skills with Scope and Campaign Bootcamp.

“Scope kindly gave me the opportunity to learn exciting and valuable campaigning skills – and now I’m campaigning with IC Change on the important of issue of stopping domestic violence against disabled women. Disabled people must be represented across all campaigns, as disabled people are represented across all of society.”

Scope is working with Campaign Bootcamp to provide this training opportunity of a 10 month course which includes on and offline training modules, including a four-day residential weekend where you’ll meet other campaigners and learn new skills. You’ll learn how to develop a winning campaign strategy as well as the best use of tactics including digital and social media, film and story-telling.

You don’t have to have run a campaign before. You just need to be committed, willing to give up some of your free time and possess a passion to bring about change in your community. 

Sulaiman’s campaigning

Sulaiman Khan is a passionate activist who has many years of experience campaigning on a wide range of issues from improving public transport to increasing the voice of disabled in Parliament. He argues that the key tools for any campaigner is tenacity and good people skills.

Sulaiman wearing a suit and tie in his wheelchair“The most important thing for me as a campaigner is to never give up. However many times you are told no, keep going. If the issue is important enough to you then you owe to yourself to keep going. I would also say to your young campaigners they need to build relationships. It’s vital in any successful campaign.”

If you would like to improve your campaigning skills to help bring about the changes you want to see in your community then please apply today.

“I get one bath a week, and I often sleep in my clothes” – Rebecca’s story

Guest post by Rebecca, who has ME and is a wheelchair user. She has lost her entitlement to social care, and now gets no support at all. Here she explains how it has affected her life.

Long hours stretch out in front of me. There’s nothing to fill my time. I cannot get out of the house. I may go many days without seeing anyone.

It’s a struggle even to have a drink; I certainly can’t get to the loo on time. I can only eat things which come straight from a packet.

If I ask for help to do something that isn’t directly about caring for my physical needs, I’m told it’s not possible. No one asks if I’m happy, or if I’d like a social life.

This is the situation I have faced ever since my care package was taken from me.

Losing my social care

I used to receive an hour of care a day where I’d get help with a hot meal, basic housework and a bath.

But when I was reassessed, this care was removed completely. One of the reasons I was given for this was that I was ‘able to use a computer’.

I was told: ‘If we gave help to everyone who just needed a bit of help with their housework, we’d have to give it to everyone.’

But it’s a lot more than just housework. Without social care, I lose the ability to do the things which make me happy, and end up spending all my energy on survival.

Rebecca outside in her wheelchair, holding her dog

How it affects me

I have volunteer carers now who come in to help me when they aren’t working. I get maybe one bath a week, and hot meals four days out of seven.

I often have to sleep in my clothes. I don’t eat properly, which means my medications are disrupted as some must be taken with food.

I was prescribed hydrotherapy about 10 years ago but I have never yet been able to attend, as I have no carer to take me, push my wheelchair, help me undress and dress again.

I’m forced to wipe myself down with baby wipes rather than have a bath, because it’s not safe to bathe myself.

I choose to be happy

I didn’t choose this life, but I still choose to be happy. My cooking and loving and care-giving (which once defined me as a proud and happy wife and mother) have had to be set aside.

But my joys are of lying in my bed looking out at the riot of summer turning to autumn in the countryside I love.

My joys are my warm dog snuggled against me under the blanket, or the total trust and love of the parrot I adopted climbing on my arm, asking for his head to be scratched.

It is not an easy life-lesson to learn that no matter what happens, I can still choose to be happy. I just need more direct care, more stability, less financial uncertainty and a lot less stress.

We’re calling on the government to provide more social care funding for people like Rebecca. Find out more, or tweet us using the hashtag #carecrisis.