I’ve worked at Cheshire House for over five years. When I started I didn’t know much about disability, and there’s still a lot I don’t know. But I have been given the chance to learn, to be trained, to be supported. It’s been an inspiring journey.
But you know what really inspires me?
Getting to know the people, listening to their stories, understanding the parents that haven’t had a proper night’s sleep sometimes for the past 20 years. Seeing the staff with their own problems at home arrive for a shift with a smile on their face.
Watching the smiles on people’s faces who are sometimes in constant pain – they are brave beyond words. They live every day in discomfort but they still laugh, they still make the best of it — I’m not sure I could.
Seeing the people in the swimming pool, able to move freely supported by the water. Touching the gloop, the sensory equipment and understanding the benefits of our amazing sensory room.
Hearing the singing, the real belly laughs and giggles, the music from the music therapy group, the voices of the choir who support us, the people joining the talent contest, the singing in the shower, the boom boom of the base from customers’ flats.
Tasting the treats, the delicious meals, the baking in the cool new kitchen that’s been specially designed for everyone to use. The sinks go up and down, the cooker too, and all the best parties end up in the kitchen!
Meeting the people who support us: the young air cadets who are full of banter, Barclays Bank’s Bevvy of Beauties and the Cheshire House quiz ladies who have raised thousands behind the scenes. Lifescan, our corporate volunteers who arrive in large groups to tackle many different projects within the house and garden. The primary school children who don’t judge us, and ask questions with an open mind. They know it’s ok to be different.
Without our volunteers many activities just wouldn’t happen. Volunteers don’t ask for recognition, they just turn up and drive us places, take us to festivals, the football, out for cocktails, or out for a coffee and a chat.
Our fashion show was an example of all of our team pulling together to do something that showed the Cheshire House attitude of — ‘do you know what — why not?’ The show was called ‘Shine’ because our people shine every day, but that night they totally rocked!
On the catwalk they showed us how it’s done, they strutted, they wheeled, they posed, they worked the crowd, and they were awesome! Everyone pulled together and we were completely overwhelmed at just how much people were willing to give — their time, their skills, even a wedding dress from a complete stranger after a Facebook appeal. Raffle prizes galore, flowers, hair, make up, clothes, photographer, music, lights, pipes, you name it – we got it! So if you ever hear that just because you have a disability you can’t be a model, know that you can be what you want to be, and don’t let anyone dull your sparkle!
If you ever hear that just because you have a disability you can’t be a model, know that you can be what you want to be, and don’t let anyone dull your sparkle!