In this post, we chat with Lydia to find out a bit more about her as well as why she joined the Forum’s Steering Group. Her love of York and supporting others is clear and we are lucky to have her as part of the Steering Group and hopefully she’s enjoying having the support of the Forum as well!
Hi Lydia, as one of the members of the Steering Group, can you tell us why you joined?
Hi there! My name is Lydia and I have lived in York for about 14 years. In this time I have been involved in various groups, ranging from York Interfaith Forum, to the methodist churches in the area. My previous job was as an independent living services support worker for adults with learning difficulties and part of this role was advocating for disabled people. I wanted to join YDRF to make a difference to the lives of fellow disabled people in the York area, and to raise awareness of how disabilities can affect people in a range of different ways.
As a disabled person yourself, would you mind telling us a bit about how your disability affects you?
To be honest, about 2 years ago I wouldn’t have classed myself as disabled enough to join a forum like YDRF, partly due to imposter syndrome, and partly due to not feeling disabled enough- comparing myself to other people. However, over the last year and a bit with the pandemic, I’ve been on a journey of accepting disability as part of my identity and now feel more equipped and comfortable in living with my disabilities. I have hypermobility, severe asthma, IBS and dyslexia which is more than enough to be getting on with! My disability can be quite fluid, so some days I can function well, and other days it’s like a stack of dominoes, where if one of my conditions worsens or exacerbates, they all seem to go in turn. I feel like my conditions have worsened over the last period of shielding, due to lack of activity and confidence in going out, but hopefully I will be able to reclaim some condition when the pandemic is over!
What are you enjoying about being part of YDRF?
YDRF has given me an opportunity to meet and get to know fellow disabled people who live in York, which has helped me to realise I am not alone. During my time on the Steering Group so far, I have been able to grow and develop various skills, including giving presentations and even learning how to set zoom up for live captioning. The opportunities that being on the forum has given me has also increased my confidence in myself, and I’m really grateful for this.
If you could change one thing for disabled people in York, what would it be?
Oh there are so many things! But I would really love it if we could continue to build this supportive community, so that no one feels alone. This is especially critical when they are struggling, or need support asking for help with various aspects of their life (for example PIP, accessing council help etc).