I receive referrals for wheelchair skills training and peer support from Solicitors, Physios, Case Managers and Occupational Therapists. Occasionally, I get the chance to attend a company training day and offer a presentation about myself and Freedom Wheelchair SKills to teams. Recently, I was fortunate to attend an Independence Works training day.
Who’s the audience?
Independence Works is a network of Case Managers and Occupational Therapists who support clients to achieve personal independence. They are located nationally and meet up a couple of times a year for training. I had the opportunity to share with them what Freedom Wheelchair Skills does, why I do it, the booking process and what skills are on offer, and how the confidence gained by clients has benefitted them.
Where do boundaries lay?
A trip to Coventry, or was it Sollihul or Birmingham? The actual place was called Meriden. I assume a sort of rural suburb of Coventry although Birmingham NEC was only a stone through away.
After negotiating the intersection to get on the M40 at J4, the motorway seems quiet which is a bit of a relief. It’s weird, when I was growing up, J4 of the M40 was called a roundabout. I remember the anxiety of trying to switch lanes of this multilane junction. But now, it seems to be even more complicated. Especially for the less confident driver. This is why I call it an intersection and not a roundabout. It has multiple exits, two of which head to Marlow. Several to heading to different districts of High Wycombe. And of course the ramps on and off the superhighway. But if you stick to the lanes, follow traffic light instructions and keep an eye out for the driver who’s having to swap lanes at the last minute, or cut you up, because their not concentrating, It is fairly easy to work out.
A quick stop
In order to have a comfortable, safe drive, I like to stop at least once before the Midlands. Warwick Services have all the facilities I need to pause, take a toilet break, replenish my thrust with a cup-or-tea and possibly fuel up with a Subway. The only problem is the lack of disabled (I hate that word!) parking bays.
I would be happy to park at the far end of the car park and push to the terminus to freshen up. I just need space to assemble my wheelchair next to my driver’s seat, in the nook of the driver’s door. But I understand not everyone, who needs to use that parking space labelled by that horrid word, needs the use of a mobility aid. They may have trouble walking long distances? But they can park in a normal bay close to the provisions. – I think I may have moaned about this in a past blog??
Round the edge of Warwick
After departing from my stop I carry on along the carriageway. Leaving at J15 and cruising onto the A46. My Don Letts download on the BBC Sounds App is keeping me entertained. I can’t see Warwick Castle as I’m on the opposite side of the market town. But I know it’s there towering over the banks of the River Avon. It has survived there for over 900 years after William built it.
After a left turn takes me onto the A45 I’m closing in on my destination in plenty of time. After progressing through the fringes of Coventry and passing a couple of golf courses and a crematorium, the SATNAV lets me know I need to turn right into the venue’s car park.
I pull up in an accessible bay, with plenty of door space and only a convenient short push to the location entrance. With my laptop settled on my lap, after a short wait, I announce my arrival to the skinny blond behind reception and ask for directions to the conference room.
During the lunch interval, which included a couple of nice sandwiches, I link up my laptop with the projector. After people have found their seats, Independence Works training lead, Helene Boonin, introduces me and my opportunity arrives to tell the room about my background. Why I started Freedom Wheelchair Skills, of my passion for it and the benefits people have received from my training.
A final thanks
Just to finish off this piece of writing. I’d like to say thanks to Helene for the chance to share my story and information about my business with the team at Independence Works. And I need to say thanks to Rachel Relf for originally referring a client which intern, lead to me attending the training day.
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