A very big welcome to new Welsh Focus star columnist, Mark Phillips as he adds his considerable academic weight and dedication to the Welsh Focus cause.
Acting as a consultant for Welsh Focus, with a wide ranging brief, Mark now busy completing his LLM (Masters) in Legal Practice explains why he has nailed his colours to the mast of the new communications agency. With a hard hitting message about the kinds of responsibilities disabled people must take on if they are to get the message out that disability is a social issues issue for everyone to consider, we will no doubt be hearing much more from the man with plan to burn down the barricades to understanding.
“We must not be naive and believe everyone by now should now be aware of disability issues. It is our responsibility to put ourselves & issues out there and promote the positives of Disability”.
Welsh Focus’ new star columnist brings his experiential enthusiasm to the disability awareness campaign.
At the age of 22 Mark Phillips like many other disabled people, has had a number of experiences in dealing with different aspects of disability. Born with cerebral palsy life may have seemed difficult enough, but aged 11, Mark underwent extensive amount of surgery at Bristol Children’s Hospital to ensure hecould achieve the ultimate goal of walking, something that most people take for granted as a given. This lead to a long few years of daily physio. A mixture of dedication, determination and true grit, eventually saw Mark on his feet for the first time .
Despite the setbacks and challenges he successfully completed a Law Degree at Aberystwyth University. He went on to complete his Legal Practice Course in June of this year. Now back home in St.Clears Carmarthenshire he moves on to complete his LLM (Masters) in Legal Practice.
Mark reflects on his experiences and how his introduction to Welsh Focus came about….
“Dealing with Cerebral Palsy has never been easy but like most things it has always been about burning down the barricades to understanding and trying to always maintain the positives. Luckily from a young age I’ve always had a supportive family and close friends where dwelling on my disability was never an option or was it ever an issue.
After focusing on physio andgetting on my feet for a number of years I was forced to do a lot of growing up fast and it was a pretty turbulent experience through the blood, sweat, and occasional tears.
I think it came a bit of a surprise that I managed to keep focused on the academic side of life and get to university, but as they say the rest is history.
Going to university which is slightly infamous for its disabled access issues was probably the biggest surprise for everyone else but throughout my time there I worked closely with the law department & the more proactive members of staff to ensure I had no problems.
It was while being in Aberyswyth I realised disability awareness was a real issue.
People would always come up to me and ask the usual questions like “so how did you end up in the chair?”(A few others I might mention at a later date). I’ve always been approachable and honest with people about my CP so I’m sure I’ll have a few stories to tell.
After completing the Legal Practice course it was time to move back home and complete the masters from there. It was while being at home I realised disability was still a huge social issue. After an incident on a night out with friends I was inspired to change my masters’ topic to the Law & Disability because it seems there’s so much law out there but are disabled people supported by it or do they just have to sort things themselves.
One thing is clear some people’s attitudes towards disability has changed possibly due in part to the negative stigma attached to disability as some just see us as benefit cheats working the system for financial gain. I realised.
As a young disabled person you don’t necessarily see yourself as a disabled and you just do your best to soldier on and blend in. It wasn’t till I left university I realised disability is still a big social issue.”
consultants resource bank