Having a career, a choice how to make a living, a choice on how to contribute to society. A good majority of people in society do have choices in their lives, mainly due to the opportunities being there for them. A fault on my car maybe solved with a bulb or it may not and another grand will be added to the bill, which l’m already facing to cover the repairs to mum’s house.

It’s good I haven’t, which many people in Cornwall have told me to do over the years, spent my savings. (Being able to run by n gauge Kato train set at Torpoint library seems like a far away dream at the moment. The frustration of not really being able to do the things I really want to do has never gone away in the last thirty years).

The cruel reality of Cornwall is having a choice is only experienced by a lucky few. It not something which is generally enjoyed by disability, and especially those with learning  disabilities. Housing is the most stark lack of choice which people have. Like I said before I experience prejudice everyday and I’m not the only one. We shouldn’t be judging anyone in 2024, let alone disability, people facing homelessness or any other characteristic that makes someone as different or not like me. It prevents progress, like the employment gap to be permanently solved. This week the guardian released a documentary which was filmed in Rochdale. It featured people struggling with the benefit system and there was Pete. He said confidently to the camera how good he could be as an employee. He managed to secure work at a warehouse but was only given one shift. We’re not just holding prejudice against people we are doing something much worse, abandoning them, and in some occasions it’s deliberate.

Wish me luck with the new bulb tomorrow.

Written by Christopher Burns, APLE’s Artist In Residence.