Last year, Sandra sustained a spinal cord injury and found herself in Sheffield Spinal Injury Centre. It was during her time there that she was introduced to Paul, Aspire’s Independent Living Advisor.

“Paul was helpful to chat to – I used to ask him lots of questions and he always had time for me. He was always spurring me on, helping me to keep going. And he gave me advice when I was upset which helped me to cope with my worries.

Housing was a big issue for me. The house I used to live in was unsuitable for a wheelchair user and I had to look for a new place to live. I was stressed because I have a young daughter and I wanted to be housed somewhere that was close to her school. Not only did Paul help to look up things for me, but he was also there to provide much needed emotional support.

Having just been paralysed, all of this was very new to me. Paul, of course, has been spinally injured for a while and it helps to have someone there with you who has been through it all themselves. Paul was able to tell me about and draw from his own experiences on how he has managed to live independently for so many years. 

Paul even gave me advice on gardening at the Sheffield Spinal Injury Centre. I grew tomatoes at the hospital in the patio as well as lavender and summery plants. Once my ramp is sorted in my house I’m planning to garden in my own home.”

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