I am Wayne Clinton, the founder of Disability Online in Morecambe. We were fortunate to win the Community Organisation Award for Disability in 2012, and this was within our first year of being founded.
I set up Disability Online because I found that there were lots of people falling through the net, and although there was already a disability organisation in the next town (Lancaster) I felt that there was still a need for our organisation. Since our formation in 2012 we have assisted nearly 700 individuals with various disability issues.
When Disability Online’s name was called out at The National Diversity Awards, I was shocked and speechless because during the evening I spoke to many nominees, who I felt had done such wonderful work and were more worthy than me.
All evening I said to my sister and partner at the time that we wouldn’t win because there are some fantastic people in this room, and I said this also while the nominees were being read out. When I went to collect the award I was speechless and was in awe of all the wonderful people, it took me several weeks to realise we had won!
The National Diversity Awards are a great way to recognise the outstanding work that is done right across the diversity board, we all need to be mindful at the same time that we are so lucky to have such a diverse country. Yes there is still work to be done on equality and diversity, but there are still many countries that don’t recognise diversity; especially homosexuality, being a gay man myself I thank my lucky stars that I am able to be who I am and be proud of who I am, although I have been beaten up for being gay.
This past year has been very busy with the welfare reform taking a hold of many disabled people all over the district and the country, we have sent a big increase in appeals because people are being told they are fit for work, although they are not.
The media hasn’t helped many disabled people because of the negative press about disabled people and those on benefits.
As I am a disabled person myself, I know exactly how hard it can be. It’s not just a matter of getting up and sitting there watching Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women, a lot of disabled like I do endure daily episodes of pain and discomfort, having to rely on others to help with what non-disabled people take for granted day in day out, and this can be the simple things like just having a wash. A lot of disabled people need a lot of help with personal and domestic care.
In order for me to keep going on a daily basis I have to take 35 tablets every day, and yes I do think – is pumping my body with all these chemicals good for me at 41 years of age? I don’t know if they are or not, but if I miss taking them my body knows and tells me.
I always say never judge a book by it’s cover, we should never judge people because we don’t know what going on inside.
It doesn’t matter what colour we are, where we come from, what gender we are, what sexuality we are, what we believe in – We are all equal, we all bleed the same, and we all the right to live in this society the way we want, and we should all live side by side in harmony
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