Kirstin’s journey

Kirstins Journey

Kirstin’s journey

Here I am – a photo of me on World CP Day and I’m looking forward to being part of it this year on 5th October 2016.  My journey has been one full of ups and downs – ill health, surgery, with long-term conditions of hydrocephalus, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and various complications.  I’m what some people call ‘a person with complex needs’. I have experienced so much though over the years and helped pioneer a service for others like me after spending some time in Hungary at what was then called the Peto Institute, which is where I was introduced to Conductive Education.  This is now established in High Green by the Paces Sheffield Charity. I almost met royalty while I was there, but was poorly on that day. My Mum did meet the Queen in 2004 when she got an MBE for helping other families. We were all able to participate in the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations this year when John Craven interviewed us and it was broadcast by the BBC!

I went to Doncaster College to study Fashion & Design and got a qualification after 2 years.  I really got a lot out of that experience so that when a service at Paces was established around a craft enterprise, I couldn’t wait to be involved.    What is really great about attending the Paces Sheffield LtV service is that they understand my condition of Cerebral Palsy more than any other provision I’ve heard of and help me develop my skills because there is a real risk of my condition deteriorating now that I’m older – I get out of my wheelchair and practice a range of movement as part of this.  This service doesn’t have a cut-off age either unlike most others and it is person centred so I can work towards my own goals challenging myself and having fun at the same time!  Some of my friends here don’t have CP but all of us need help to improve our physical ability.

A fairly recent achievement for me was moving out of my family home and sharing with two friends, this is working well and I have a busy week and social life and try to attend the Under the Stars event organised for disabled people as often as I can.  Inclusion is important for me too and the great thing about the Paces Campus site is that lots of other people use the building and some activities are for the community of High Green.  The activities are for everyone and I can be involved in those with the right amount of support.  I feel I am part of a community that nurtures me and values me as an individual in my own right who has something useful to contribute.  It is the best feeling ever when someone loves what we produce as part of the enterprise project and buys it at one of the market stalls we run!  We make sure that the quality is excellent and on a level with other high-end craft goods, as only the best will do!  If you want to find out more the Paces 18 to 25 yrs services will be the subject of a Seminar this year on the 20th October at the Hilton in Sheffield, Robert Halfon MP who has CP will be a speaker.  There are free taster sessions most Thursday afternoons too.  If you want to find out more about what we do at Paces ‘LtV’, School or any other adult service the main email for enquiries is or phone 0114 2844488.  I like to get emails too and will look out for any questions – my email address is