Elizabeth Grant is 63 and has spina bifida yet she has never let that define who she is! Today, on World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day she wanted to share some of her own insights into living with a disability and what it means to her.
“I was one of seven children so there wasn’t much time for molly-coddling when I was born! My parents were practical people so when my brothers were doing something my dad would just try to find a solution so I could take part in the activity as well. They always looked for a way that I could do something rather than think I couldn’t.
Because of this, I am as self-sufficient as I can be. That is not to say life is easy as it’s not. Over the years I have been through a lot, about 40 years ago I had my right hipbone removed and for nearly 20 years I have had an open wound which the surgeon can’t do anything about without creating a whole other set of issues. Through all of that the biggest challenge I have faced was losing my husband 12 years ago. We complemented each other so well; it was difficult to deal with.
Despite all of this, I want to show others that life does not stop because of disability. I make sure that I spend my time doing everything that I want to in life, I let nothing hold me back. I go to tai-chi class, I’m involved in my local church, I love my garden, I’m a Cub leader and I have a courageous cat called Jasmine. I even had the opportunity to go canoeing recently and loved it – although thanks to health and safety, by the time I had all the life jackets and harnesses on I couldn’t move my arm to use the oars!”
SBH Scotland then asked Elizabeth what advice she would give to younger people living with disabilities. She continued,
“Don’t let people tell you what you need or want – you know what you want and you know your own condition. It always makes me very frustrated when people tell me what I want, for instance, I use a manual wheelchair and people constantly tell me I need a powerchair. However, I don’t want a powerchair, I am very happy manually pushing myself, so I will continue to do so!
It’s also so important to try and do as much as you can for yourself and fight tooth and nail for the right to do so.”
Many thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her story. #WSBHD
ILF Scotland has now opened the Transition Fund! The new ILF scheme will be a broad discretionary fund, that will provide short term awards, to support disabled people to live independently.
In its first phase, the scheme will focus on supporting young disabled people, aged 16 to 21, who are at an important transitional stage in their lives.
The Fund will provide short term grants (with £5 million of funding available per year) to young disabled people, providing them with opportunities that facilitate their participation and inclusion within their communities, creating a lasting impact on their lives.
Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said:
“We want everyone in society to have the same quality of life, and providing support to disabled people is one of the areas we have worked on. This Transition Fund will support young disabled people to take up opportunities to contribute to and participate in their communities, to help them live as independently as possible.
“We have worked directly with disabled people to develop this fund and to ensure that we give people choices and treat them with the fairness, dignity and respect they deserve. I would encourage all those who are eligible to apply for funding to do so now.”
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said:
“I’m delighted this fund is now open for application. Our Disability Action Plan lists a number of actions to transform the lives of disabled people in Scotland and that includes actions setting out to tackle the inequalities and barriers faced by disabled young people, including tackling social isolation, employment opportunities and improving lives at points of transition.”
Young disabled people will be able to apply to the Transition Fund for a grant to enable them to participate in activities in their communities they have never had the opportunity to before, such as joining a club or a class."
Ryan Cuzen, an individual looking to apply to the Transition Fund, said:
“I see this fund as a positive step forward and a gate opener for young disabled folk in transition to improve their lifestyle and to get out and about.
“I want to be able to try new adult orientated activities, like mixed martial arts, and applying to the Transition Fund would give me the chance to do this.
“The hope is that the fund will give young disabled people, including myself, more confidence and help to develop community social skills.”
Peter Scott, CEO of ILF Scotland, remarked:
“We are thrilled that our Transition Fund is now open, providing a real opportunity for young disabled people to break down social barriers, and to fully participate in their communities, enhancing their independence.
“Disabled people, their organisations and their carers have been at the heart of developing this fund and its implementation. We will continue to work closely with them to maximise positive outcomes and the impact of the Transition Fund for young disabled people.”
To find out more information about the Transition Fund, the full eligibility criteria and how to apply, please go to the Transition Fund section of their website. If you'd like support from SBH Scotland in applying please contact our Finance Support Workers on 03455 211 300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org