Inspiring independence at our open days

When Leanne Herbert shared her journey towards full time wheelchair use at our Open Day in 2023, it inspired fellow MD Support Centre service user Bhavesh Tailor to reconsider using a powered wheelchair to support his independence.

As part of her role at De Montfort University, Leanne co-chairs the Staff Disability and Wellbeing Network, as well as delivering training on disability and mental health awareness.

Leanne has been a wheelchair user for more than 15 years and relating her experiences at our open day, said that in the period prior to this, using a chair had “never really entered my head”.

But with days out becoming uncomfortable and stressful due to falls, she realised that using a chair would be safer and make it easier to visit places and ultimately “lead to more freedom”. 

Leanne began using a wheelchair full time in 2009 and transitioned to a powered chair in 2011. She said: “It takes some getting used to but in time a wheelchair becomes part of your life. My chair always used to be in the back of the car. Now I think ‘if it makes my life easier, I’ll do whatever it takes’. I’d rather that than still be walking and not be able to work or enjoy a day out.”

New horizons

Bhavesh, who works full-time from home in Leicestershire as a planning coordinator for a water services company, said: “Leanne’s talk at the open day made me think because I just had a manual wheelchair and going out to places was getting difficult, as my wife had to push me around and I wasn’t able to have any independence. It opened my eyes and I thought maybe it’s the right time for me to switch to a powered wheelchair.”

He bought his first powered wheelchair in October 2023 and hasn’t looked back since: “My world had started to shrink and I couldn’t go anywhere on my own. But now I can sit in my wheelchair and go to the local shop or go out with my friends. It’s brought back my independence and boosted my confidence and it’s easier for my wife too.”

Look out for the full story from Leanne and Bhavesh in the Spring/Summer edition of our MD Support Centre Magazine!

Liverpool FC fan Bhavesh and his wife Dina enjoying a stadium tour

Sign up for our 2024 Open Day

Bookings are now live for this year’s MD Support Centre Open Day! Join us on Saturday 29th June 2024 at Finham Park 2, Coventry, for a packed programme of activities inspirational speakers, practical sessions and an opportunity to socialise with service users. The day includes a free buffet lunch and refreshments.

Register now to secure your place!