Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi! My name is Lynley and I live in a lovely village in the Brecon Beacons called Penderyn. I live there with my husband (and now carer) Pete. I used to be a Head of Dept and Pastoral Care in a large secondary school before I had to take ill-health retirement at 48 but have since discovered a new love for writing.
What is your experience of life as a disabled person?
Well, I became disabled at 47 and I have to say it was a real challenge. I had no knowledge of disability, wheelchairs or accessibility so it was a whole new world for me.
I, like many other non-disabled people, assumed that things like access, benefits, social care were a ‘given’ and came as a package without a problem. I was very disappointed and worried when I found out that wasn’t the case so I found dealing with the fracture, the pain, losing my job, the benefits system and everything else really difficult.
Since then, I now am more knowledgable and more able to cope with the challenges that a chronic pain syndrome and a wheelchair can bring.
How would you describe your disability?
My disability came about after an incredibly rare spontaneous Sacral spinal fracture which caused nerve damage, weakness and subsequent chronic pain and weakness in my left leg. I now have to use crutches to get around at home and an electric wheelchair outside. I am in severe pain 24/7 but I attend the local Pain Clinic and we’re working together to help me manage it.
What is accessibility like where you live?
I live in a fairly rural area so a lot of the local area is woodlands and farms which are hardly accessible! But the village itself is pretty good; we have accessible buses and bus stops, we are very lucky to have a fully accessible community centre and I have joined the local woodlands working group so I have been highlighting areas that can be made more accessible which I love.
Where is your favourite place for accessibility & why?
I apologise if this is too obvious but I do love the big shopping complex in Cardiff! All those fabulous shops with no raised doorsteps, no heavy doors, disabled toilets everywhere and accessible tables in all my favourite restaurants.
What is one accessibility improvement that you would like to see?
I think that councils should look much more at accessibility for people living in rural areas? The towns, quite rightly get a lot of help but I can see first hand how little the rural communities get. I would like to see much more investment to help, because disabled people live in the country as well as the towns!