Hannah joined Dame Hannahs in February 2016 and has been living in Marchesi bungalow 52 weeks a year ever since. She is quadriplegic with cerebral palsy and is a full time wheelchair user. Her move to Dame Hannahs transformed her life opening up so many opportunities and enabling her to get involved in a wide variety of projects and activities as well as establishing good friendships. She speaks clearly and eloquently and particularly enjoys hosting her own radio show and being involved in the organisation of the Funky Llama Festival and activities in Plymouth. She has also given some excellent talks at a number of fundraising events over the years.
Hannah talked to us recently about her life at Dame Hannahs:
“I am now 31 years old. For the last six years since March 2016 I have been working with the Funky Llama project within the Theatre Royal Plymouth and am a member of their steering group. We hold annual events every year, including a one-day festival. This is usually held in the summer and a club night held in the autumn. We also do regular social events for our members group which usually happens once a month at different locations around the local area. During the pandemic we had to postpone our events and make everything virtual via Zoom meetings. Even though this was different it still meant people could stay connected and keep their relationships they had built up with their peers. It was great when the Funky Llama Festival returned last October and I love being involved and working with my fellow volunteers in person.
I also run my own radio show which I have been doing since 2018. I record it in the studio at CEDA in Exeter once a fortnight. It’s a great way to showcase all my community work and let everybody know what I have been up to. This is one of my favourite activities to participate in. As it is my dream career, I pride myself on playing good music and being able to give facts about the artist who I play. That seems to be my trademark. I also love having the freedom to talk about other things that interest me and that are current such as World Chocolate Day or Wimbledon.
During the pandemic I kept myself positive by re-finding my love of art and found it a great form of form of escapism but I am now focusing on other activities and getting out and about more. I always really enjoy a lot of reading and listening to audiobooks. My favourite genre is autobiography and biography. I have always enjoyed my sport. Tennis is my absolute favourite and I love to watch it on television and I do especially love to see it live so this is something I hope to pursue again now that the pandemic is over.
Whatever the circumstances I am very strict with myself about keeping up with my therapies to maintain my fitness and keep my mind active. This includes standing in my frame and using an electric cycling machine called a Thera Trainer. This has been particularly good for my body’s well-being as a whole. I can now do an hour on this machine, within which I can do a distance of 5.5 miles. And I really cherish my weekly sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and make the most of them. I treat the session as a workout and do a lot of work on my muscles. The warm water gives me a real feeling of freedom and I feel so much better afterwards.
Recently I have met someone who has become my boyfriend. We meet up regularly and the staff are enabling me to be more independent. They escort me to get togethers and are able to leave me for a few hours before ensuring that I get back to Dame Hannahs safely.