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'What Matters' survey in 'The Times'

Following the release of our ‘What Matters’ report in September Melanie Reid has highlighted some of our findings on employment in her ‘Spinal Column’ in the Times on Saturday October 15.

Melanie focused on how, since her spinal cord injury, work has been hugely important for her and credits it with saving her sanity, her home and her marriage. She describes it as her substitute legs and her escape. However, due to your responses in this year’s ‘What Matters’ survey in which 75% of you told us that access to employment had prevented your right to a job that reflected your skills, aspirations and experiences Melanie was able to highlight that many employers were still not being supportive.

Melanie reported that:

Melanie Reid

Melanie Reid/The Times


A heart-breaking 92% of spinally injured respondents said public attitudes to disability were the biggest barrier to a fulfilled life







She took the time to feature some of your own experiences which she described as truly sad including the teaching assistant who went back to their old job but was left under supported and felt isolated which affected her mental health; an administrator who waited for 10 years for a disabled toilet to be installed and a professional aircraft engineer interviewed repeatedly for jobs he’s done before but was not hired.

In all these cases our members told us that their condition was unfairly viewed by a potential employer as a barrier instead of something that gave them a unique perspective. Melanie wrote that in a societal sense the waste is true madness with the UK’s workforce about a million short due to the cost-of-living crisis:

“There’s an invisible army of skilled disabled people who’d kill for a job, livid at politicians who say people “can get a higher salary, go out there and get that new job” Because they blimming well can’t until there’s a drastic change in attitude.”

If you subscribe to the Times, you can read the full article HERE