In 1995 when I had my first severe stroke which paralysed my right side it was a great shock to me because I thought it was only old people that had them. I was in hospital at the time which was a lucky place to be.
After doing a lot of rehab at the hospital my heart consultant suggested that I went to Flightways Day Centre to help with my physio and speech therapy. I also learnt to write letters on a computer because I couldn’t communicate. My carer who was assigned to me was profoundly deaf so he taught me to sign (BSL) which was good because I was able to communicate with him. After a lot of hard work working with staff at Flightways I began to regain my confidence as well as making friends.
In early 2000 I joined a group called the Steering Committee which had a few members and was 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 myself ran all the courses, including art, pottery, photography, flower arranging and yoga. We employed tutors for the various activities.
In 2008 I became a volunteer for BDISC and worked on reception. I was also an activities coordinator, secretary and bookkeeper for BDISC.
In july 2014 I had a massive herat attack which led to me having a triple heart bypass which took me some time to recover from.
Then in 2015 Paul could no longer run BDISC. I was running it alone but struggling to manage because of my health. We approached Anita and Emile and asked them to take over BDISC, which they did, and we are now called Maxability.
All we are waiting for is someone to give us somewhere to carry on with the courses, which are so 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 activities can go on so that their creative ability can be met, they can mix socially and can feel a sense of purpose to their life.
by Elaine Jones, 14 March 2016