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Disability Cornwall receives £60,000 to record people's stories

By CMJohannaCarr  |  Posted: February 04, 2013

Dr Theo Blackmore, Research Manager for Disability Cornwall, is looking forward to a summer of story-gathering

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A Hayle charity has been awarded £60,000 to record the life stories and experiences of disabled people in Cornwall over the past 50 years.
Disability Cornwall was handed the cash from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to see how things have changed for residents and visitors before the information is lost forever.
The interviews, set to take place over the next 16 months, will be carried out by younger disabled people, giving them the chance to learn new skills.
Dr Theo Blackmore from Disability Cornwall, said: "The recognition of the importance of this history will help younger people locally to understand their past. This is the first time anything like this has been attempted in the county and is one of very few projects led by disabled people anywhere in the UK."
Many of the people who will be interviewed will be from older generations. The video recordings will be placed in the County Records Office as well as in other local archives.
The project will look at how life has changed dramatically for disabled people during the past 50 years, with equalities legislation seeing community living rather than institutions become a reality.
It will also look at the changes in education provision and accessibility in buildings.
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, Richard Bellamy, said: "This project helps raise the profile of this often forgotten section of the community, and will start to place this currently untold history in the county's historical archives."
One lady in her 80s who is keen to be involved with the project described her life as a young girl in Penwith when there were no wheelchairs available.
She said that her brothers used to "stick me on the dillies (go carts), made with a plank of wood and four wheels and put a cushion in it so you could sit in there."
Their disabled brother Tony used to be first in the dilly and she would be placed on his knees.
She added: "It was the only way of taking us along with them where they went, blackberry picking and whatever."

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  • stevepz  |  February 05 2013, 12:35PM

    It's easy to mix up disability with variability. I have a distant family member 92 but remarkably healthy. He has a carer who has power of attorney in event of him not being able to manage his affairs. A few months ago he wanted to move into a newly renovated town center flat as he can no longer manage his garden and the house is falling into a state of disrepair, He wants the town on his doorstep. The carer who from what we understand stands to inherit the house took this man to the doctor and turned his hearing aids off. Then he was then able to convince the doctor he was unable to manage his affairs and gained power of attorney. The carer who has been a friend of the family for many years in the past has now blocked the sale of the house and his move to the flat. A social worker has been involved and deemed him fit and has also agreed the house is cold and unhealthy due to mould. Now a legal battle is now ongoing to remove the carer from the power of attorney But he is bitterly fighting to remain. The old man in question is a trusting and caring person who does not like conflict. He would like to carer to remain but does want him to be removed from the power of attorney and this handed to a family member that would allow the move. He now has to go through a lot of assessments to try and prove he's OK. We are tring to speed this along but the law is on the carers side. This is a classic case of a vulnerable elderly person being deemed disabled when he is just vulnerable. And subsequently being taken advantage of for financial gain. What amazes me is how little anyone cares. Stories like this need to get out in the open. This man is not computer literate and a similar fund to this needs to be set up to tell stories like these. This man has only a few years left and he wants to enjoy them but instead he has to wait for appointment after appointment as nobody wants to take a decision. The final years of his life are being wasted by bureaucracy This man who fought for us in the WW2 is being left is squalid conditions so that a person not even related can inherit his home. He even asked to go into a home during the winter as the house is so cold and unpleasant but was denied by the carer as this would eat into the inheritance. I think it's disgusting how this man is being treated by the system and the devious carer who know how to work it to his advantage.

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  • jimjams2011  |  February 04 2013, 9:06PM

    There are lots of charities in cornwall that work hard for people with disabilities that keep having their budgets cut and live day to day, yet they have paid Dr Theo Blackmore (Dr of what exactly?) £60,000 to record peoples experiences ?! What does he think the internet is all about? People with disabilities that wish to record their experience have access to the same blogging websites and video-hosting websites as the rest of us. Meanwhile... people are suffering.