“We are crowdfunding for a new wheelchair for Jay so if you could donate to his GoFundMe page, pinned on my twitter page on @debbo_fisko. The local charity I’d like to support is the little silver hedgehog. Thank you for brightening our day”.
The prize was £50 for the reviewer and £50 for the charity of their choice.
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I’m Rob Trent, co-founder and Managing Director of AccessAdvisr.
I’m disabled (a power wheelchair user) and of an age where I can remember a time before such wheelchairs were commonplace, and travelling in a ‘Guards van’ (look it up youngsters!) was the only way for a wheelchair user like me to travel by train.
As for buses – forget it! Going to places required lots of pre-planning and even more luck.
Going out was a hit and miss experience
It never stopped me, mind. I spent a lot of time in my teens visiting mostly inaccessible football grounds, watching gigs at mostly inaccessible indoor and outdoor venues, and drinking in pubs where it was possible to be barred on Health & Safety grounds.
When I did go out, I’d often not know if I would be allowed to go to the place I wanted. Also it would have been great to share my experiences so that other disabled people could make decisions for themselves.
Robert Trent was born with arthrogryposis, a condition affecting the joints and muscular development.
From the age of 6 he attended Chailey Heritage Special School where he was taught to be as independent as possible. This is where he first developed an interest in art, encouraged by an early tutor who recognised his potential.
However, painting took a back seat as Rob excelled at academic subjects and was determined to achieve the qualifications that would enable him to be financially independent.
With a BSc in Information Systems, he started working for Ordnance Survey in Southampton and took up painting once more as a spare time occupation.
Rob joined the MFPA (Mouth and Foot Painting Artists) as a Student member in 1998, and was delighted to see one of his paintings of the Houses of Parliament chosen as a Christmas card image.
Promoted to Associate Member Artist in 2013, he now tries to spend as much time as possible painting and developing his considerable talent as an artist.
‘I was introduced to the MFPA as early as my sixth year by a home tutor who encouraged me to paint by holding the brush in my mouth. Since then I have loved painting, and the MFPA has given me the freedom to develop as an artist’
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