I was 23 years old in 2018 and I suppose I was doing what young men do.  It was a hot summer’s day and I was with friends when I dived into the sea into what turned out to be shallow water.  I sustained a C6 spinal cord injury and was taken to the Duke Of Cornwall Hospital in Salisbury. 

I have always been a physically active person and loved playing all sports. I was a good team player – it’s not just the playing of the actual sport, it was the friendship and camaraderie that went with it.  Although I may not have appreciated it at the time, after my injury I began to realise the health benefits, both physical and mental, that sport gave me.

When I was discharged everything changed.  As with sport, I was happy doing physical work.  I had had a good job as a cable layer but that was no longer an option. I was single and moved into my own place.  Once I was settled, I needed to find something to fill the void and came across wheelchair rugby, which I suppose reflected who I was before my injury; a physically oriented team player who enjoyed sports. It really has given me both focus and enjoyment and I am now a player in the GB Talent Squad and my goal is to one day make the GB Paralympics Team.

I highly recommend to anyone, especially those who have experienced an injury, to get involved in whatever your passion is, whether it’s for recreational or competitive purposes.  Sport has given me a sense of freedom and something to work towards, which is important for all of us.

I heard about Aspire when talking with Roy, an Aspire Independent Living Advisor, on the ward in Salisbury. Roy was very supportive and positive, giving me practical guidance when I was first injured and telling me about the range of services Aspire offers to those with Spinal Cord Injury.

I undertook a Money Matters session with Aspire’s Money Matters Specialist which was good for me because I, like many others, had not found time to take a look at my everyday finances.  The Money Matters sessions took place over the phone and we just talked through things to check if I was missing out on anything I was eligible for and if I could make some savings.  Rather than generic information, Phil followed up with email links to things such as council tax band reductions from my local authority, social tariffs from my local water provider and reduced tariffs from my existing broadband provider.  There were also hints, tips and tools relating to budgeting from a safe and impartial website.

I now have a greater awareness of what savings can be made if I’m eligible and an understanding of how Aspire’s Money Matters can offer guidance in the future.

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