I, Andrew Reid, was a typical 16 year old starting college. Full of ideas and ambitions to be an architect. I was a keen cyclist, white water canoeist, swimmer and not-half-bad house designer. It was Oct 1976, in the college sports hall. I jumped on trampet (small trampoline) and landed on my head. C5/6. I had 9 months at Oswestry SU, under the care of Dr Francis Jones, who gave me the confidence and drive to go back to college in Sep 77, to Hereward College, Coventry.
For next 8 years I was a permanent student, studying O’ and A’ level’s, OND, Degree and Post-grad Dip in Int. Politics at Southampton Univ. Uni was a great experience where I studied and partied in equal measure. I met my future wife at Uni and 2-years after leaving we married on Halloween 1987. We recently celebrated 24 years. We settled in Eastleigh and have moved 3 times, each about a mile away. We now have a lovely bungalow which we revamped 6 years ago. Our latest acquisition is plastic grass for front ‘lawn’, I highly recommend it.
After Uni, unable to find a job I was an unpaid Researcher at Uni Politics Dept and then did a home based IT Training course. This led to first job with NHS Supplies Southampton for 6 years as a database analyst and programmer in 1989. I’ve had a varied job history working full time for over 20 years as Research and Info Manager, Social Services Complaints Manager, and Tourism Development and Access Auditor. Then in 2005 I joined Southampton Univ Hosp Trust as Workforce Redesigner then Workforce Planner. Using skills gained through an MBA with Open Univ. Then redundancy forced a change, I stayed at SUHT as a Project Manager for a £6m Outsourcing project. This concluded in June 2011 and I secured a 2-year contract as Data Manager for Macmillan Acute Oncology Service at the hospital. I’ve been lucky, adaptable and willing to learn in all the jobs I’ve done, this has kept me employed.
I still design houses for when I win the lottery, I have faith. My wife Jackie, HR Manager with RYA and my main carer is extremely busy. I have carers to help on weekday mornings and a driver paid through Access to Work. Jackie and I are both very busy and one day hope we will have time for hobbies, probably when we retire, a few years off yet. My plan, in 5 years is to apply to be a magistrate, if they still exist.
We often take holidays in France, Portugal, Tenerife and across the UK and I usually take a week away with a carer to go swimming, which Jackie dislikes. We’ve had holidays in at least 8 places advertised through SIA Forward, 4 on current website. The most enjoyable holiday’s being in the Dordogne, at Noel & Muriel’s listening to the pink toed frogs at night and visiting and drinking Bergerac’s vinyards.
The main thing that keeps me sane is working. Being useful, valued and contributing through tax to the immense costs I call on from the NHS the benefits I receive. Disability is not a barrier to work, but ‘perception that life and opportunity is against you’, is a greater barrier.