Equality A Diversity A Inclusion

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Foreword

Welcome to the 2019 edition of Forward Mid’s Directory for Disabled People.

20 years ago this year I found myself in intensive care in an Edinburgh hospital. An undetected tumour had haemorrhaged leaving me paralysed from the shoulders down. Not only did this dramatically change my life, physically and mentally, it also opened my eyes to the extraordinary challenges that disabled people, and their families, face every day.

Perhaps the greatest challenge was getting hold of the information needed to allow me, newly disabled, to participate fully in society. What support is available, who to contact for advice and help to get this support? Who could help me navigate my way through the fiendishly complex benefits system? I assumed I would be eligible for a blue badge, how do I get one? what other assistance is there? Where is all this information?

There is an old adage that says ‘Information is power.’ This is certainly true for disabled people. Without correct, relevant and up to date information disabled people can become isolated, unable to exercise their rights, receive the support they need and make their own choices on how they want to live.

The purpose of this directory is to help disabled people, their families or carers find practical, useful information which could improve their lives immeasurably. To get the answers to the same questions I had 20 years ago as well as solutions to the everyday problems which still seem part of the territory for disabled people. Still, there is another saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ This directory has a host of invaluable information and contacts that are an essential companion for all disabled people and carers in Midlothian whether they be newly disabled or long-term disabled. I would have preferred a Forward Mid Directory then and settled for being a wee bit less strong.

I sincerely hope you find this booklet useful.

Jeff Adamson - Chair, Forward Mid

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