50 Years & 50 Yards - A Short(ish) Life Story :)

Hi Peter aka "Sociable" here, so very nice to meet you.

So who am I?

Well amoung many other things I am a Disabled, Divorced Dad & Retired Social Worker, Part-time Visiting Research Fellow (Disability & Social Exclusion), Full-Time Voluntary Welfare Rights Advocate & Disability Rights Activist.

To understand the Why of all the above one needs to know a little of my story so here goes.

Brief Bio:

Raised by my natural mother and later adopted by my stepfather I spent my early life on a small council estate in the rural village of Knebworth in Hertfordshire.

Though relatively poor we got by and I eventually left home at 17 to make my way in the world. Over the years I became successful but my career was cut short by health issues which initially forced a change of career and later prevented me working at all.

Ultimately I have ended up right back where I started 50 years ago having led a life directly shaped by the public policy decisions of successive governments during my lifetime. This has led to my gaining first hand experience of the impact of social mobility in both directions

Initially working as a trainee accountant I later moved into international sales and marketing eventually becoming an area manager for the Middle East for a large UK company until illness forced a swap to UK sales and advertising.

Sadly this too was cut short by illness and disability leading to my moving into Social Work gaining placement experience working with children and families on a social services duty team and later an "access to privately rented accommodation" scheme run by Shelter, eventually being appointed to run that scheme until my health once again intervened in 1996.

Throughout the last 15 years I have been actively involved in voluntary work, with various local and international organisations, primarily in the disability and welfare rights areas and currently help run on-line support groups for the disabled and also act as an unofficial welfare rights advisor, advocate and 1-2-1 counsellor for those in severe distress.

My most recent appointment is as a "Visiting Research Fellow" specialising in disability and social exclusion with the Centre for Social Work & Community Research, University of Hertfordshire. Sadly the pattern continues though and I have had to take a forced sebatical from this work following yet another downturn in my health last year. I will bounce back though. :)

Current Projects: Challenging both the current arrangements and the proposed changes in the nature of national and local benefit and care provision for the disabled, initially using my own case to seek a judicial review of current legislation, policy and practice and then using this to inform the current debate on proposed welfare reform.

In addition I am also working on a discussion paper related to one of the many medical conditions I suffer. The purpose of this is to promote discussion of a much needed shift in the balance of power between sufferers and the medical professionals who care for them particularly when rare or obscure medical conditions are involved.

This has now been recomended for inclusion in the Edited Guide and can now be viewed here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/A52917159" >http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/A52917159 />
I am also trying to put together a far more comprehensive model of disability building on the existing social model but also taking into account the explanations for and resolutions to some of the current limitations and language issues with the existing model in an effort to try to re-unify the apparently fractured disabilty movement.

If you really want to know how I tick as it were though, you need do no more than simply read the wonderful philosophical poem "Desiderata" as it sorta sums up my general attitude to life and how to cope with all its many ups and downs quite nicely. :)

Peter aka "Sociable"

N.B. A "slightly" longer version of this somewhat sorry saga can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/F9470882?thread=5151888&latest=1" >http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/F9470882?thread=5151888&latest=1 />
"Go placidly..be gentle with yourself..strive to be happy"

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Peter aka Sociable

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