Siobhan Meade

My name’s Siobhan. I’m 28 year’s old and have been blind for about 13 years. My DLA helps me to live independently and is helping me to find paid employment.

My dream job would be working in the media. I’m working really hard to gain as much experience and make as many contacts as I can to make that dream a reality. It’s difficult to get a paid job when you’re blind. In fact 66 per cent of registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in employment. This is why it’s so important I get as much experience as I possibly can as I really want to get a full time paid job as I don’t want to rely on benefits forever. However getting to these opportunities is expensive.

I write a column for my local newspaper where I’m gaining valuable work experience, which I hope will help me gain full-time employment in the future. However, there’s no Access to Work funding for volunteering opportunities only paid employment. This means I have to use my DLA to help pay for all the extra costs involved with me volunteering this includes getting taxis too and from venues where I volunteer and also when I go out and interview people.

When I’m not volunteering I like to have my friends round. I like to make sure the house is clean and tidy but struggle to do it myself as I can’t see where needs cleaning. I pay for someone to come in once a month to check that everything’s okay. She has to clean the doors and windows as there’s a lot of finger prints everywhere from me feeling my way around the house and the floors need cleaning because my guide dog sheds a lot of hair. I can only afford to have her round once a month. I’d be mortified if my house was dirty when guests came round.

The Government seems to think that you need less support over time. It’s true you learn to adapt in some ways but there’s always going to be things I need support with and these costs don’t go away or reduce. My DLA is helping me to look for paid employment along with helping to pay for all the other extra costs involved with having a disability. Don’t let disabled people miss out on the support they need to live independently. Join the Hardest Hit campaign.

5 thoughts on “Siobhan Meade

  1. Hi Siobhan,

    I have just read your story on the BBC. I am so sorry that some people have not always treated you kindly. Unfortunately, several studies show that as soon as someone is not looking people will do horrible things. In your case, it’s not your choice not to look. Thank you for coming forward and letting these horrible things be seen in the public eye. I hope that it will push people to start paying a little more attention and actually step in and say something next time. Unfortunately, the general public are a little apathetic nowadays! Thank you for your strength and speaking up not just for yourself, but for everyone affected by any form of hate crime! I wish you all the very best and I hope you enjoy your weekend! :)

  2. Hi Siobhan,

    I’ve just read your story in today’s papers, about neighbours and other local people bullying you so badly, you had to wear a body camera. Speechless. I just wanted to send you love and strength. Also just to remind you – as i hope/am sure you know – most people who’ve heard about behaviour like this are disgusted and upset by it and want you to feel supported and safe. I’m really glad to hear it’s stopped now and i hope you’re doing well.

    Mina

  3. Hi Siobhan,
    My name is Patrick and I live in Cheshire. I read on the BBC News site that you had been having problems with yobbos abusing you. I applaud your use of a body cam to identify them and that it had stopped. I have seen the pictures of you and Mac and would like to say what a stunningly attractive lady you are and what handsome dog Mac is.
    Never despair as there are 1000s of normal people who are 100% with you.

    regards
    Patrick

  4. Hi Siobhan. My name is Wendy Reader – and I am a volunteer with NNAB. I have seen you occasionally when I help at the GY Centre. I also volunteer at Flegg Primary School. The children there – aged 7-11 – are doing a project on blindness and would really appreciate meeting you and your guide dog if we can arrange it. If you are interested could you e mail me or phone me. Many thanks ! Wendy 01493 750080

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