Following a road traffic accident at the age of ten, Hannah had been confined to a wheelchair and was left with minimal use of only one hand, as well as limited speech. She arrived in Dorset in 2013, and moved into supported accommodation due to her limited mobility. Though she had never let her disability get her down, moving to a new place away from family was not easy. She joined BCHA’s Personal Development ‘Ignite’ Programme, in search of some new friends in the area as well as new communications skills.

Through a range of sessions including confidence building, relationships, art, cookery and self-awareness, Hannah developed the confidence to move into her own accommodation and live independently – a decision she thought she might never make:

“When I first moved to Dorset I didn’t know what to do with myself. Two years on, I’m a changed person: I catch the bus, attend groups, and go out on my own. I am also about to live independently for the first time with my physical disabilities, which is exciting but scary.

The Ignite courses helped me in building self-esteem, and becoming more sociable. I particularly enjoyed my one-on-ones with the Ignite mentors where I discussed future goals. The course also gave me a taste for study – I was always dedicated to making sure my homework was completed every week.

“I do not consider myself to be disabled; I’m just a young lady who needs a bit more help than others.”

In the future I would like to be a mentor. I want to help others by talking to them about the challenges I have faced in my life and how I overcame them. I would hope this might inspire them so that they too can see that with positive thinking, most things can be overcome.

I get discriminated against for being a wheelchair user. I don’t like it, but I cannot change it. I try and stay positive and just be myself at all times. I do not consider myself to be disabled; I’m just a young lady who needs a bit more help than others. I think these thoughts I have made me the positive person I am today.”

Hannah’s piece of advice for changemaking:

“With positive thinking, most things can be overcome.”

  • £500 can provide Art as Relaxation sessions, including materials, for up to 90 people
  • £1,000 would help 10 victims of modern slavery with welcome packs, underwear and clothing
  • £3,000 would pay for an Ignite Work Club session to run every week for a year
  • £9,000 would allow up to 90 learners to complete a level 1 Skills for Supporting Others course