To help mark their 30-year anniversary, children’s charity Whizz-Kidz are releasing 30 stories from wheelchair users across their history.
Over the last three decades since Whizz-Kidz was founded, there has been significant changes to disability policy, legislation and wheelchair services.
This has included the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act coming into force and NHS Wheelchair Services being devolved to 151 local health authorities.
The new project will result in stories being archived as part of The British Library Sound Archives, ensuring that the life experiences of wheelchair users today are preserved for the future.
Through feature-length interviews, some of the wheelchair users that Whizz-Kidz have supported since 1990 have shared what life has been like for them as wheelchair users in the UK.
Whizz-Kidz wanted to reflect how the changes over the last three decades were experienced in the day-to-day lives of 30 wheelchair users by conducting biographical interviews and taking striking portraits. A number of high-profile wheelchair users are interviewed to explain how, when and why changes in policy, legislation and clinical services were implemented.
The project also asks how far have we come and what will the next 30 years look like?
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The British Library, the ambitious and historic project has already seen five stories released, some from familiar names: Sports personality and Enable columnist Ade Adepitan speaks to Whizz-Kidz about the moment he wanted to be an athlete, illustrated by a short animation; British actress Ruth Madeley shares the challenges and achievements in her life and career from studying for GCSEs in hospital to celebrating success at the BAFTAs.
Whizz-Kidz CEO Ruth Owen is also included in the project, explaining how she defeated the social stereotypes that face young disabled women to become the valued chief executive of the charity that she is today.
You can read the first five stories and look out for more stories in the ongoing project here.