Thank you, disability campaigners, for the difference you’ve made to my life

 Imagine how ashamed of my body I would have been as a girl, being told that it was offensive enough to merit removal

Without people like Jane Campbell, who fought for the Disability Discrimination Act 20 years ago, I can’t imagine where I would have been today
‘Jane Campbell, one of the leading lights of the Disability Discrimination Act campaign, describes how much she envied her sister for getting a regular education while she was taught how to cook cheese on toast.’ Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

I was 11 months old when the Disability Discrimination Act became law, 20 years ago this week. As I approach my 21st birthday, it’s sobering to think that when I was born, there wasn’t a single piece of legislation protecting the rights of disabled people in the UK and that as I lay on the floor with my soft toys, people just like me – but infinitely more courageous – were out on the streets fighting to be recognised as equal. From where I sit now, it is hard to believe.

It is even more sobering to consider what my life may have been like without the act. Of course it’s impossible to know, yet I am certain that I would not have fared as well as I have.

Creating better world for disabled and carers

The challenge is creating a society fit for disabled people, people who live with long-term conditions and unpaid carers to enjoy their right to live well.

Picture: Esme Allen

Welcome boost as Norfolk mental health support line becomes free

A Norwich charity has pledged to do all it can to help those struggling with mental health problems after making a recently at risk helpline free of charge to all users.

Earlier this year, we told how the helpline, run by Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, was at risk after Norfolk’s clinical commissioning groups pulled their funding.

However, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) stepped in to provide funding for the service to continue until March 2016, but only for people in north Norfolk, Norwich, south Norfolk and west Norfolk and at a cost to the user.

Now, Norwich Mind has announced a new number, 08088 020288, which will be free of charge and available to provide support and practical advice to eligible clients when they feel they are not coping well with life, are highly anxious or are at risk of going into crisis.

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