On Friday 7th January 2023, I launched my new campaign in conjunction with Northumberland County Council and Active Northumberland, to encourage people with hidden disabilities to get active. The event took place at Willowburn Leisure Centre, Alnwick, because in particular I want to encourage people to take to the water. As always, I specifically spoke about the stigma and concerns which people with ostomies often have to face, such as the fear of their bag leaking in the water.
I am passionate about encouraging people with hidden disabilities to feel more accepted at our public venues and places, which are often places which can seem overwhelming to those of us with additional needs.
I was delighted to be joined by ITV Tyne Tees reporter, Katie Coles, together with cameraman Paul Kingston, the latter joining me in the pool to take some active footage - he donned his swimming costume and fins and swam alongside me while filming, which was pretty hard work!
Northumberland County Councillor Wendy Pattison spoke with Katie, while Cllr Martin Swinbank chatted at length with representatives from stoma product company Hollister Incorporated, who funded the professional photography by Chris Ord.
It was a successful event, with the ITV Tyne Tees news story having a fabulous reaction - I was inundated with messages from members of the public, both with hidden disabilities and without, in addition to mothers with child birth injuries, all welcoming the awareness which was raised.