Hey support me to get into work, it’s not like I don’t want to go – Lorraine
I’m fit for work. I want to work. I want to contribute to society and need money to pay the bills. I’m tired of scraping by on welfare. People will tell you to go and get a job, but for me it is just not that easy. It’s not that easy because I have a disability.
I recently got a job working part time in Dun Laoghaire as a Saturday receptionist. I’ve been friends with the family for years and I’ve done placements with the company in the past. Their previous receptionist was visually impaired like me, so they had an idea of the support I would need. It’s great because this company wants to be inclusive of people with disabilities.
However, I still have a number of concerns and worries. I live in north Dublin, so getting to Dun Laoghaire isn’t the easiest. I am lucky that one of the staff members lives nearby, so they are being my chauffeur for the moment, but ideally I’d love to move closer. However, that might not be so easy. I am also worried about working and losing some of my benefits, benefits that I rely on. To ensure I don’t lose them, like my medical card, I can only take up the position for a few hours a week. But it gets me out of the house and doing something; getting out and about and participating in society is so important!
My ideal employment situation would be to get involved in something similar to the Momentum project – it allows you to work as well as to be educated in the field you want to work in. However, the Momentum project is only available to those on the Live Register i.e. those who are receiving Jobseekers Allowance or Job Seekers Benefit. So people with disabilities are excluded from accessing the Live Register. There are a lot of people who aren’t on the Live Register but want to be – people with disabilities fall into that category.
This is really unfair! There should be equal employment opportunities for all, not just a small few!
Everybody who wants to work should be able to work.
Over the last five years, we’ve heard that people are allergic to work. People with disabilities are not allergic to work. I’m not allergic to work; if I was I wouldn’t be volunteering and I would not be doing the part time work that I do on a Saturday. On top of the volunteering I do, I also manage my own personal assistant service which is in itself a lot of work. I’m certainly not allergic to work! That’s the one thing I want to get across and I know many people who would be the same.
There are projects/employment support schemes which are already established and available to those on the Live Register which people with disabilities would gladly utilize; we don’t always need specialist assistance. We just need to be able to access the right sort of supports like personal assistants to be able to do it.
Ireland really needs to change. We need more equality for people. Nobody is allergic to work.