We’d like you to meet our AccessAble champions who are helping to spread the word about AcccessAble and the vital work we do.
Each champion will share regular blogs and vlogs about using AccessAble to find accessible places to go, as well as attending our events and speaking to the media about AccessAble’s work in their region.
Their support will make a huge difference, so make sure you follow them on social media for more updates.
Becca Wilson – Newcastle Champion
I am a research fellow in health data science at Newcastle University. I work on software projects that help medical researchers to access and analyse medical data in the UK and other countries, to progress the understanding of various health conditions.
Four years ago I had an episode of transverse myelitis, since which I have been working to improve disability inclusivity and equality in the academic sector. I enjoy spending my free time travelling and exploring the great outdoors. With my reduced mobility and wheelchair use this brings its own challenges, but has never stopped me! I am also a keen foodie and whisky geek.
Becky Henley – Midlands Champion
I’m a pretty average 23 year old from the West Midlands. I’ve been a registered veterinary nurse for the last 4 years and have my own furry clan of horses, a dog and a cat. I’m happiest when I’m outdoors with my animals or exploring with Dan and my friends.
Dan (my better half, significant other, partner in crime....) is 28 and works as a data analyst. He's a big music fan so loves going to gigs. Like me, he loves being busy and active.
Dan has Friedreich's Ataxia- a rare genetic, degenerative disease that causes coordination problems, a loss of sensation in the arms and legs, and impaired speech. As a result of this, Dan is a wheelchair user.
I’ve recently started a blog to answer the questions I get asked about being in love with someone in a wheelchair and what it's like dating with a disability. Through this, and by teaming up with AccessAble, I also want to share our reviews and stories about places we visit and their accessibility. Hopefully this will be useful to other people who need to consider access when looking for things to do and places to visit. I'll also be sharing handy tips and tricks that make accessible living easier.
David Trigger – Midlands Champion
I have two grown-up children and a grandchild and live in Worcestershire.
I worked in the Architect’s department of the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board back in the 1960s as a buildings and land surveyor.
After several different careers, I retired in 2006 and went to live in Australia - and was able to stay there for 5 years. When I came back to the UK, I became an NHS England Patient Leader and also worked as an Expert by Experience with the CQC inspecting GP surgeries and care homes. I developed a special interest in Dementia and am now a member of the West Midlands Dementia Expert Advisory Group and the County Dementia Strategy Group.
Recently my hearing has diminished and I now wear a pair of hearing aids. It can be upsetting when places have a hearing loop, but only switch it on when asked.
I am hoping that I’ll be able to put the older persons’ points of view about access and environment with AccessAble.
Emma Muldoon – Scotland Champion
I’m a disabled travel writer and blogger from Central Scotland. I started my disability, travel and lifestyle blog, Simply Emma, in 2014 after a series of bad experiences travelling and general accessibility issues in my day-to-day life as a wheelchair user. I enjoy sharing my personal stories through accessible travel guides and reviews while raising disability awareness and challenging perceptions and attitudes towards disability. Through my blog, social media channels and various online platforms, I hope to encourage others to travel more and make fun discoveries and memories.
I have Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, which is a progressive muscle wasting condition. A full-time power wheelchair user, I try not to let my disability stop me from living life the way I want by travelling as often as possible, going to live music events, eating out and being as active as possible. I’m extremely excited to become an AccessAble Champion and want to spread my love of travelling and passion for raising awareness of accessibility.
Emma Purcell – Hampshire Champion
I live in Alton, Hampshire and run her my own disability, lifestyle and music blog, Rock For Disability. I am also a writer for online magazine Disability Horizons and a Content Advisor for the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK. I graduated with a Journalism degree in 2016.
I have Cerebral Palsy and am registered blind. However, this has never stopped me being independent and living my life to the fullest. I have a passion for music and love travelling the country to attend live gigs and festivals. I also enjoy acting and perform at theatre groups. My ambition is to become a multimedia music journalist.
As a child, I thought my disabilities would prevent me from being able to enjoy live music experiences, but with the encouragement from school friends, I’ve had the opportunity to attend various events over the past decade. In addition, I enjoy going to pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and football games. Of course, organising these events does come with its challenges when you’re disabled but I’m determined to spread the word that anything is possible and especially share my experiences of accessibility in Hampshire.
Heather Lacey – Manchester Champion
My experience of cerebral palsy and Scheuermann's kyphosis - a form of spinal curvature - became the catalyst for starting my blog nosuperhero.co.uk, where I write openly and honestly to spread awareness of disability. I have written extensively about managing my chronic pain and fatigue, and have openly shared the impact that this has had on my mental health.
As well as writing on my own site, I have written articles for journals and websites, including The Huffington Post, Scope, 'The Journal of Gender Studies' and more. I have worked with the BBC and regularly speak at conferences and seminars, including The London Book Fair, the Children's Media Conference and at schools and universities, with a focus on inclusion and disability rights.
I read English Literature at university and graduated with an MRes degree that explored portrayals of disability in contemporary literatures, where my thesis was heavily influenced by study into models underpinned by Disability Studies and theories surrounding chronic illness, pain and multiple oppression. I work with an organisation called Inclusive Minds and regularly speak on panels and at conferences to share my knowledge on the subject.
I was born and grew up around Manchester and am passionate about making sure it is accessible and inclusive for those fortunate enough to live, work or visit the city.
Holly Greader – Wales Champion
I’m 21 and I live in Cardiff. Early last year I had to give up full time work due to my health, which was not just giving up my job but my dream job working in theatre (the theatrical kind not the hospital kind). Last year I also went from using crutches or a walking stick to a wheelchair with a power add on whenever I leave the house.
I have thought about blogging for many years and I have found in the past that writing down what I was going through and my experiences helped me to understand what was going on; as well as it being away to remove some weight from my shoulders.
So, last year I began to blog. One evening I just started writing and a year later I’m still writing. I intend to start discussing issues surround disability benefits, disabled parking and accessibility more in the future as these are things I feel very strongly about. I was diagnosed when I was at 10 with my first condition so I’ve had 11 years of chronic life and disability so trust me when I say I have several opinions on the way many things work and the way disabled people are treated. Through my blog and social media I’ve started to use my voice. I’ve been given the opportunities to be heard too. When I stopped working I wasn’t sure I would ever feel as passionate about something again. However, Disability advocacy is something I feel incredibly strongly about and I intend to use my voice and only grow louder.
Sassy Wyatt – London Champion
I am charismatic, outspoken and sometimes funny. You will probably find me drinking tea and singing badly to my Guide Dog Ida. My passion is to raise awareness of disabilities and make the world a more inclusive place.
I launched my blog Thinking Out Loud back in 2015 becoming a platform for not only myself, but for others to share their stories of living life with a disability. My words have educated and inspired many which I hope will continue for years to come.
This year I have also been fortunate to get published on both the Metro and the Guardian. Challenging perceptions through education and humour empowering others to be more disability confident.
We’ll be introducing more AccessAble Champions in 2019 – if you’re interested in getting involved, you can contact us by email at [email protected], or call 01438 842710.