The WOW petition is supported and has been submitted by actress and award winning comedian Francesca Martinez.
Francesca has a large catalogue of television and radio appearances and has won a BAFTA for her role as Rachael Burns in the children's television programme Grange Hill. The first disabled main character in the series. Today, she is an international stand-up comedian and has appeared with Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais and Kate Winslet in the spoof documentary 'Extras'.
Francesca has cerebal palsy and often describes herself as "wobbly".
I’m in my early 40s and my functioning is severely limited by ME/CFS or Lyme Disease, or both (doctors can’t decide – doctors don’t always agree on cause, which is a problem when the benefits assessment system uses a rigid tick box system), plus concomitant gut problems. I am not a natural activist by any means, indeed, I only joined twitter to follow golfers and footballers, but my personal experience of this government’s viciously unfair and hopelessly misguided assault on disabled people’s lives and livelihoods has driven me to want to help, even if my participation is very limited.
Carole Ford @FordCarole
I received the Severe Disablement Allowance for four years in the mid 1990s, prior to any points test – medical evidence and statement only, assessed at interview by DSS. I was misdiagnosed with a variety of conditions, including myasthenia gravis, before finally getting the right physiotherapy to build up core strength, which I now do everyday to support my back. I have a law degree, graduated 1969, aged 23. I have two children and two grandsons aged six and four. I divorced in 1992, but have lived in the same house for 36 years and managed to work locally for the Civil Service for nine years, until I retired four years ago.
My name is Colin-Roy Hunter, which is how I appear on facebook. You can view my public profile if you so wish and find out about me and my interests. My political views are in this blog post- The Malefic ConDems’ Ideological War on Welfare. I blog and tweet under the name criquaer, which is an abbreviation of CRIppled QUeer Anglo-European Ranter. Rather gives away much of what I am about! My blog also includes details of my health conditions, disabilities and how I deal with my impairments and the environments in which I find myself.
Ian Jones @edwinmandella
I was doing fine. Into my second job after leaving university having qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant. Flying high. People paid money to watch me and 21 others play football. Played for my County. Played for the FA Representative side. I hated pre-season because being one of the least skilful players on the team I had to be the fittest. Played for the Reserves Thursday evening to get fitter. Got up at 3am on the 9th August 1991 to drive up to Newcastle Upon Tyne for a Business meeting. Got as far as Chesterfield. Woke up (I use the term loosely) 2 weeks later. I’d watched Michael Watson get injured in the boxing ring – I’d gone and done something similar to him. From a position of no hope I fought back, ending up in Abu Dhabi 15 years later as the Chief Financial Officer of a $billion aircraft leasing business, until they sacked all the ex-pats! People I worked with didn’t believe I was disabled (although the DWP assessed me at 75% disabled (not enough for me to get DLA!!)). The limp, mood swings, memory recall of a goldfish, slurred speech, inability to carry a cup of coffee without chucking it everywhere etc didn’t register! They considered me eccentric in public (and probably weird in their private conversations). My career was over because as you get more senior the job becomes more about form than substance (Accountants joke!). Having become a house husband and professional golfer (!!) I got angry. I applied for benefits for the first time (2008) and through ATOS assessment to Lower Tribunal to Upper Tribunal back to Lower Tribunal I went from being 28% disabled to 45% disabled to 75% disabled (without legal representation). I then had an unpleasant interview with Seb Coe’s chronies at LOCOG ending up with me taking them to an Employment Tribunal. Again without legal representation, which cost me, because despite LOCOG admitting on stand they failed to make reasonable adjustments for me, they won because I hadn’t specifically accused them of that. Isn’t the British legal system great! Life wasn’t fair. So I decided to try to change that. First “The Spartacus Report” meant that my MP Theresa May was able to put a name to my face. Then a chance TwitCon about a “Silver Lady” led to WOWpetition. Theresa May said to me before the last election, which they didn’t win, that her Party wanted to treat disabled people fairly. So do I, which is why you must sign the #WOWpetition, because it isn’t fair at the moment. Disability is like the National Lottery – it could be you!
I have epilepsy (not controlled) diabetes (controlled) and suffer with depression (currently keeping it at bay). Have been through the Atos mill, was kicked off, appealed and lost. Felt very humiliated and very angry by the whole process. I’m involved with WOW, not so much for me but for others. I’m fortunate; my husband works and we own our own home. What if I was single and living in rented accommodation?
John Charles Dyer @JohnCharlesDyer
I retired in 2007 from a career in public service that spanned 34 years in local and state government in the US. My last role was as Chief Counsel to a state agency and acting General Counsel to its Secretary, a Cabinet level appointee. In this dual role I designed, negotiated and advocated major pieces of legislation. The distinction in titles is that the former is Civil Service, the latter political, but both titles describe the same position I held through 4 tumultuous years in California history. In retirement I continue with my now 47 years of active engagement in both faith and non faith based charitable, community and political affairs, including as an online Twittervist and blogger. I blog for Whirled View, an online American Foreign and Public Policy Journal founded by 3 career US Foreign Service Officers. I am a dual citizen and relocated to the UK with my British wife. Although politically affiliated in the US, in retirement I remain politically independent, supporting a party for the sake of effectuating policy rather than policies for the sake of putting a Party in office.
I’ve had many jobs, I’ve done lots of people and project management in different sectors. After working many years for the same company, things started to go wrong and I had to take lots of time off, I was told I was no longer needed. Since then I had to fight a lot, mainly the NHS and the local council. Now I am finishing a Bsc in health and social care, to complement what the University of Life has taught me in this field. The internet has helped me a lot in many ways during difficult times and I am fascinated by social media and citizen journalism. I am appalled by the current propaganda against welfare recipients and even more appalled by the way the government is removing our safety net which we all have been paying for over the years.
Michelle Maher @mmaher70
Hi, I am 48 years of age and was involved in a car crash twenty years ago which has resulted in my on-going health problems. The cuts to welfare and the draconian and humiliating experience of being dragged before Atos and the fear of the brown envelope drives me to fight for the sick and disabled. I am currently trying to do a PHD at Sussex University, very badly I might add. Joined group through twitter and likeminded peoples aims to fight the ConDems.
Well, there are two things a man should never run from, even if they cost him his life. One is a man who’s helpless and can’t run with you.
Social Care past. Passionate about the need for more education in schools about Disability Issues and things like First Aid. Believe in a need for a Co-operative Care System.
Rick B @TenPercent
I’m a human, artist, fool, depressive, blogger and carer. I have survived many attempts on my life by successive neoliberal governments in the form of fake medicals and the consequent legal appeals. I was first ‘assessed’ by the pilot of LiMA in 2003 when it was run by Schlumberger Sena before Atos bought it. I have attained the enlightened and/or state of ennui where I understand the human condition is simultaneously tragic and comedic, for example: Many concentration camps had orchestras, thus one of the highest expressions of creativity, culture and co-operative achievement by humanity was to be found slap bang in the middle of the very worst depths of human depravity. So go figure, people eh? (as I believe Wittgenstein put it in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus). I live by the Irish sea on an island in Wales with a cat, Mogwai, who no more believes in god than I do but is considerably furrier than me. The origin of Ten Percent is explained here. You’re welcome.
Wayne Blackburn @crazybladeuk
I’m a 36 year old Yorkshireman on a spying mission to the old enemy, colonising Lancashire one bungalow at a time! I was born with Spastic Diplegia and have had several operations during my childhood and later, and have developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Spondylosis over the last couple of years. I’ve worked on and off throughout my adult life until my condition deteriorated significantly three years ago and has worsened ever since. I detest the “scrounger” rhetoric being pushed by this and previous Governments and long for the day that the use of “welfare” is once again replaced by “Social Security” as it should be. I have been a floating voter for as long as I remember but will never forgive this Coalition government for its War on Welfare, and wish to ensure that we break through the deceit and lies being pushed by the DWP and its partners, and having been through the Appeals process of DWP and Atos I am well aware of the hardship and stress it brings to a claimant and hope we can restore some sanity and compassion to the system. My blog and read Shiv Malik talking to me in the Guardian.