September 16 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 28, 2014
The Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People has appointed a new communications and administration assistant, who aims to raise awareness of the practical support available to those with disabilities.
Sophie Hawkins was born with left hemiplegia – a form of cerebral palsy which means she has a slight paralysis down her left hand side. Her mobility is currently the worst it has ever been, after a procedure to lengthen her Achilles tendon and stabilise her ankle left her with arthritis. But despite the challenges she has faced, Sophie says her disability has never held her back.
“I’ve never let the hemiplegia define me as a person,” said Sophie, 27, who lives in Ipswich. “When I went to college to take a secretarial course, the tutors tried to persuade me to do business studies instead, because they didn’t think I’d be able to type properly. But I’d always wanted to be a secretary so I refused to let them stop me. I’ve since had a number of secretarial jobs and have got a typing speed of 60 words per minute!”
In her new part-time role with the Ipswich-based SCODP, Sophie aims to ensure that other disabled people are aware of the organisation and the advice and support it can offer.
She explained: “I’m feeling really empowered and eager to help people in a similar position to me.
“There is all sorts of help on offer, which I had no idea about until I started my role here. This includes the Government’s Access to Work fund which helps pay for practical support for disabled people in the workplace.”
Coalition chairperson Leah Jordan said that Sophie would bring a wide range of skills to her new role. “She has an impressive administrative background, as well as a passion to ensure that disabled people receive the help that is available to them,” she said. “We’re sure that our members will really benefit from her appointment.”The Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People is an inclusive umbrella organisation, led by disabled people for disabled people. The charity is a central point of contact for all user-led organisations in Suffolk which help and support people with any disability, impairment or long term health issues. For more information, visit www.scodp.org.uk or call 01473 276115.