Lockdown has been a lonely time, and for Phoebe, it didn’t start last March. Like many disabled people, she spent her whole life living under restrictions, facing isolation and exclusion. But thanks to you, Phoebe no longer feels alone.
Not being able to do what you want or go where you please – that’s something we’ve all experienced over the past year. But it’s nothing new for Phoebe, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.
Isolated long before the pandemic
Like many disabled people, Phoebe has been held back by negative attitudes throughout her life. She went to a mainstream school and she remembers how, one day, all the other children were taken on a fun day out as a treat – apart from her.
I had to stay in the classroom on my own, like I was getting punished for being disabled. I felt so different to everyone else.
There are also physical barriers. Phoebe is a football fanatic and she always loved going to watch matches in the pub with friends. But if they turned up somewhere and it didn’t have a ramp, Phoebe couldn’t get in.
Weighed down by emotions
A lifetime of restrictions took a heavy toll on Phoebe’s mental health. “It shaped how I felt about myself. I was ashamed to be disabled.”
The negative emotions were a burden and it was even heavier because I carried it alone. There was no one in my life who could relate to what I was going through. Family and friends tried, but it was hard for them to relate.
You are a “light in an unfair world”
Then Phoebe heard about Scope’s online community, which your gifts help fund. It was a place where she could chat with other disabled people, who faced similar restrictions to her and understood what it was like.
"When I shared how I was feeling, people responded and said, ‘I know what you mean. I’ve been through exactly the same’.
That made me feel much less isolated and it really improved my self esteem. I saw that being disabled is not a negative thing – it’s actually something to be embraced.”
Your support was especially invaluable for Phoebe over the past year. “During the pandemic, Scope’s online community enabled me to continue meeting new people and sharing experiences, when I couldn’t do that ‘in real life’. It was a saving grace.”
Lots to feel positive about
With your gifts to help fund Scope’s online community, you’ve had an incredible impact on the way Phoebe feels – about herself and the future.
“Like many people, I can’t wait for some parts of life to go back to normal – spending more time with friends and family, having a cheeky trip to the pub to watch the football. But there are other parts of life that need to change. We’re still a long way away from a world that embraces and accepts everyone.
Before it used to really hurt if someone gave me a funny look. Now I think, ‘being disabled is nothing to be ashamed of – I’ve got as much right to be here as everyone else.’"
Because of your support, Phoebe feels much more positive about herself – you’ve changed the way she lives her life. Thank you so much.
You’re providing a lifeline
Adrian, Scope's online community manager, explains how important the community has been over the last year for disabled people like Phoebe - "Many disabled people are so isolated that Scope’s online community is the only place they can go for support. Day or night, disabled people and their families can pop in, have a chat, get vital advice or make new friends.
Scope’s online community is full of people who support each other and care about each other. It’s the community that disabled people are often lacking in real life. Without your support, this lifeline wouldn’t exist, so thank you."