A Solid Start - Welcome Katie

The last year’s been a difficult one for everyone – but it’s presented some particular challenges for disabled people. Here at Touretteshero, the COVID-19 pandemic’s meant we’ve been focusing on providing direct support for our communities, in particular disabled Londoners, and also people with Tourettes and associated conditions across the UK. We call this our Solidarity work and today I’m super-excited to introduce you to our new Solidarity Worker – Katie.

Katie, a white person in her early twenties, is standing in front of a bright orange wall with a colourful monkey painted on it. Katie has pastel pink hair and is wearing a bright purple dress with yellow tights. She is smiling.

I think the best way to start this post is to say…Hi! I’m Katie (though you can also use KT, I’m not fussy). I’m new to Touretteshero, and I’ll be working as the Solidarity Worker. My pronouns are she/her or they/them and I proudly identify as being disabled.

So, what exactly does a solidarity worker do? Well, in short, I’m here to provide support to disabled people and communities who particularly need it. This will involve a range of things, some will mean connecting people and their families to different resources, and others will involve funding practical assistive equipment for people who would find that useful.

I realise that it can be nerve-wracking having someone new enter your community saying that they’ll be helping to support you. But I know also how important these interconnected support networks are, so if I introduce myself a little bit, hopefully that’ll help us get to know each other.

I’m a photographer and artist who loves using old cameras and funky colours in my work. I often use my art as a way to discuss my lived experience as a disabled person, as well as my experiences working in disability-centered environments. I used to be a playworker, I led the disability liberation group at my university, and I’ve also had opportunities to assist with creative workshops, exhibitions and performances. I’ve just moved back to the UK from Vienna, where I was an intern for a human rights film festival.

On a more personal level I’m the kind of person who can’t ride a bike, but who decided to take up roller skating. I’m an ugly mug enthusiast (today’s choice has a strange collage of pictures of Wham on it), and I’m known for my love of eccentric earrings. I can’t decide what I want for tea unless I dance around my kitchen a bit first, and I once performed a poem about Liam Gallagher’s tambourine collection!

A photo of one of Katie's ugly mugs - this mug is shaped like homer Simpsons head, with bulging eyes, a big grin and a handle on one side. Colourful straws are in the cup and burst out of the top of Homer's head.

A photo of a Wham mug, it's a rainbow of colours with a photo of the pop group WHAM on the side.

Of course, there’s only so much you can write to summarise yourself, but I hope that’s given you a good idea of who I am and what I’ll be doing. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this community – the only thing left to do now is to get started!

We’re thrilled to have Katie as part of the team and we’re looking forward to developing and sharing new solidarity services with you in the coming months.

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