Here our Ambassadors are sharing their thoughts, ideas and experiences with us
get2gether’s Ambassador Karen is talking about getting a job
When I’m asked what get2gether means to me, it’s really difficult to put into words. In the beginning it felt like a dream. Getting a job for me was something that was not achievable, and it’s so strange because why did I do all the things I did? Why go to university, volunteer, write a CV?
I think the reason I felt I’d never have a job simply was fear, fear of change, or fear that you’re a failure, and making mistakes. Why? Because in every day life that’s what happens isn’t it? Let me tell you that I am not someone who has been wrapped up in cotton wool, but I think looking back I have been protected from all those things. I’ve been told just leave things as they are, because why would you want to change something when change might be difficult? And to be honest this was a very real concern for me even at the application stage for get2gether but I knew something had to change.
I had a horrendous experience when travelling on the bus. For the first time in my life, events had made me feel like somebody held a mirror in front of me and I didn’t know who I was any more. I’ve lived with Cerebral Palsy all my life but never really thought about how other people saw me. I became very withdrawn and started to question every decision about my life. Was I disabled enough? How do people look at me? How was my life going to change? Do I have any control over it? At one stage I felt so overwhelmed that I would say I was having mental health issues.
It was at that point in my life that I saw the get2gether job advert. The rest, as they say, is history but, ah, this was only the beginning. Nearly two years later I am now on the bus, I’m in the door and have still got much more to do.
During my time as a get2gether Ambassador I have ran my own social events which have included coffee meet-ups and a cinema trip as well as board games.
Before getting the job with get2gether I was always an active volunteer and that would mean that I would meet new people regularly. But getting the job made me realise that people are relying on me. It wasn’t just turning up and taking part which so many disabled people do, but it was having to be responsible. I have to say that as someone with a disability and long-term chronic condition this is not always straightforward. It is very challenging to find myself in charge or even a leader and I have had to overcome anxiety and build up my confidence. This is how we all learn.
get2gether’s Ambassador Karen hosted a visit to the Cameo to watch T2 – Trainspotting.
Okay, so a group of us as part of get2gether went to see Trainspotting 2, and I have to say it was absolutely brilliant. Really enjoyed it from beginning to end.
Having seen Transporting the first time round several years after its original release date it was a film that definitely stuck in my mind for it’s dark and edgy portrayal of Edinburgh as somewhat grubby drug scene.
I have to admit that I couldn’t really relate to very much and just remember being quite shocked by some of the hard-hitting drug induced fantasy scenes such as the disgusting toilet scene which Boyle subtly referenced to in the sequel.
I don’t want to give too much away in case you haven’t been to see it yet but you won’t be disappointed as you get to see all the characters’ quirks – although it isn’t as sentimental as Renton would like to think.
You learn of their journeys over the last 20 years through the artistry of Boyle’s direction there are modern twists on how the camera takes us on this journey.
As a member of the audience and a resident of Edinburgh I love the way we were taken on the journey with the characters showing all the new parts of Edinburgh.
I know some areas are desperately trying to move forward and modernise but you can see still see the scars on the buildings and people.
Although it is only 20 years and I just feel that, as I was watching, the city is in some way moving forward and after a tremendous improvement of transport and great services and events still has the character and roughness around the edges.
This makes it a uniquely intriguing place to observe on the big screen and was so proud to be in the audience.
It was great that we were in the Cameo – a great accessible arts cinema and staff couldn’t be more friendly – where the original film was premiered back in the 1990s.
I feel it was a nice way to celebrate this coming of age film well worth a watch and, you may even see some popular places that you have recently been to – including the CAV! Did you spot it?
See you at our next club night at the CAV on Thursday, 16th February!
Have you seen T2? Let us know your views!
get2gether has recently appointed two new Ambassadors, we’ve caught up with Karen to learn more about her role
g2g: Congratulations, Karen, you are one of get2gether’s new Ambassadors. Tell us, why did you apply for this role?
I wanted to apply for the Ambassador role as I really enjoyed being part of get2gether and I wanted to expand on the work I had done the year before.
g2g: So, you were an Ambassador before, what did you enjoy most about this role?
I liked hosting the Meet your Ambassador events and I got to know people on an individual basis. I also noticed, that I have the confidence to go out there and do things for myself …
g2g: You were hosting your own events without get2gether staff present, can you tell us more about your events?
I hosted a few events, meeting for coffee, a trip to the cinema, out for a meal, and linking with another Ambassador for a buffet – for some reason food is always a winner – I can’t think why 😛
g2g: How did it feel being an events host?
To be honest, the first few events made me feel really anxious, as I worried that something goes wrong or nobody showed up. But the more events I did the more relaxed and positive I became about the next ones.
g2g: Did you encounter any challenges?
The main challenges were trusting myself that I could do this and keeping myself calm when dealing with groups (the group bill was something I worried about, but I learned to be clear with people from the start that they had to ensure they had the right money and were responsible for paying for their own food etc.).
I think I have learnt a lot about myself by doing these events and what support I need, and where it is appropriate to ask others to help you out with this.
g2g: What are your hopes for this role?
To continue to grow in confidence and get involved in more of the running of what you guys (the members) want to do. To take on more responsibilities in order for get2gether to branch out across Scotland and make more fun and memories for people to look back on and smile.
And to spread the word more about what get2gether does so that everyone can have the opportunity to go and live the life they want.
g2g: Do you already have a to-do list? What are you planning to do first?
Firstly, to finish the Buggy Off film which I have been working on with get2gether. After that I am not quite sure.
g2g: And finally: what are your hopes for get2gether?
My hopes are that get2gether continues to grow, I hope that members get to make their own short films, and take part in things they want to and that the Ambassador’s role continues and that more and more disabled people get the chance to have paid employment.
Thank you so much Karen, for this interview, and good luck with your new job!
Mairi Therese, our new Ambassador, introduces herself and shares her thoughts on her recent interview experience
I have always taken pride in the fact that I am an independent individual.
get2gether has helped me realise my full potential.
Being interviewed for the job of an Ambassador was a rewarding experience. I made sure I prepared and researched my role.
I am now organising my first event – an informal book club – and I am a bit nervous because this is the first time I have organised anything by myself.
get2gether has made realise that anything is possible and friendship is a given.
For the first time in my life I do not have to explain my disability or medical history this is so refreshing for me.
As one member told me labels are for cans and jars not for humans – that has stuck with me because it has made me revalue myself.
I think get2gether is awesome because I have made friends old and new.
Kirsteen, our Edinburgh Ambassador on her favourite places, getting around and rhododendron buds
It’s March now and the days are getting longer. The Botanics are open till six o’clock and this makes it easier for me to visit.
The Botanic Gardens are one of my favourite places. I live quite nearby and can borrow a mobility scooter to get around. They are available to any disabled visitor. A small donation towards the upkeep of the scooters is suggested.
I am enjoying the early signs of spring – the snowdrops and the swelling buds. I am especially keeping my eye on the rhododendron buds. The Botanics has a large selection of rhododendron species which flower throughout spring and early summer. I love these large showy flowers.
If you are disabled getting around is a big problem. Each person will have different degrees of disability and different aspirations, requiring different solutions.
As a child I had various trikes and bikes with stabilisers. They gave me exercise and a lot of fun, too.
Later on I had a much more exciting mode of transport – an Outrider trike. This was petrol driven, looked a bit like the quad bikes that farmers use but smaller and fixed in first gear, so that I couldn’t go too fast!
This wonderful machine enabled me to go on beaches, around country parks, bounce up and down kerbs and have some great adventures!
The Outrider was towed on a trailer behind the car and eventually it was replaced by a mobility scooter which can be hoisted in and out of the car boot.
The scooter is a good way of getting around, too, and can be used indoors which was not the case with the Outrider, with its exhaust fumes! However, it can’t go on beaches and I can’t be too adventurous in the countryside.
In addition getting around town on it is not without challenges in the form of high kerbs and cobbled roads, which shake me and the scooter to pieces!
So, getting back to the Botanics, being able to borrow a large, comfortable scooter and roam around a beautiful garden is wonderful and last time I was there, some of those rhododendron buds had opened into amazing pink blossoms!