Elaine Jones

Elaine’s Story

In 1995 I had a severe stroke, which paralysed my right side. It was a big shock because I thought only old people had strokes.

After doing a lot of rehab at the hospital, my heart consultant suggested that I go to Flightways Day Centre to get some physio and speech therapy. I also learnt to write letters on a computer because I couldn’t communicate. The carer assigned to me was profoundly deaf so he taught me to sign (BSL), which enabled me to communicate with him. After working with staff at Flightways, I began to regain my confidence and make friends.

In early 2000 I joined the Steering Committee, run by Paul Baldwin, who I later worked with, running a charity called BDISC. In 2008, when the centre was no longer run by Barnet Council and became user-led, Paul and I ran all the courses, including art, pottery, photography, flower arranging and yoga. We employed tutors for the various activities. I worked on reception and I was also an activities coordinator, secretary and bookkeeper for BDISC.

In July 2014 I had a massive heart attack, followed by a triple heart bypass operation, and it took me some time to recover.

By 2015, Paul could no longer run BDISC and I was running it alone but struggling to manage because of my health problems. We approached Anita and Emile Woolf and asked them to take over BDISC, which they did, and we are now called Maxability.

The courses are greatly enjoyed by members and people in the community. It is so important that people with disabilities have a place to meet, as well as a place where we can express our creative abilities, mix socially and feel a sense of purpose in our lives.