Thank you to everyone who came to the theatre last night to see’s Natasha’s show. A good time was had by all, here’s a message from Natasha.
”OMG, you just blow me away so much. I can’t thank you enough for your kindness and support. Everyone on your team, the kids, the parents. Honestly I just wish I could do more for them and I want them to keep smiling and enjoy life because we all deserve that so much. The work that you all do is so worthwhile. I just looked at the website and its fantastic. I can’t wait to see you all on Monday and please please send all my love and hugs and wishes to everyone that came last night. xxxx”
Official version of events for the RAPID report.
This year the team have also funded a trip to the Theatre in Nottingham to see Natasha in her one woman show. This is aimed at showing the young people (some of whom have not even tried to go to the cinema in their wheelchair) that life/culture and entertainment is also accessible to them. We also wanted the youngsters enjoying a family relationship rather than thie usual carer/cared for scenario. We used a wheelchair accessible coach which took five youngsters in their wheelchairs. Other youngsters who couldn’t climb steps of the coach used the tail lift to access the coach. We took wheelchair spaces in the theatre and everyone had a great night, supporting Natasha Wood, a disabled actress who has been a great support to the Health Transition Team and the young people on our caseload.
But those who went know it was very different!!! The real version of events and hence the need for Health Transition Team group therapy.
Three people cancelled at the eleventh hour, which meant ringing round to fill the seats and the alteration of the seating plan yet again.
Coach was late, Carrie had to go look for it, flagged it down on route and was big friends with Barry the coach driver by the time it arrived at Oak Park, although he did keep calling her Claire, most likely early Alzheimer’s and by this time the kids were frozen!!
Took 40 mins to load the chairs onto the coach. Barry hadn’t done five wheelchairs before, didn’t realise how big some of the chairs were and at one point we were panicking that we couldn’t get Brad in!!!
Freezing cold on coach, despite Barry saying heating was on full blast.
Arrived at the wrong theatre. Barry took us to Nottingham Theatre not Nottingham Playhouse. He didn’t know where Nottingham Playhouse was, SatNav wouldn’t work, Carrie accosted a man who gave us the wrong directions, Carrie ended up phoning the theatre and they talked us in.
Arrived 25mins before the show. Took over getting the kids off the coach, Barry about to have a nervous breakdown. Jennika’s mum was unhooking all the straps, Kathie operating the lift, Barry in meltdown.
Got them all off into theatre, seats in stalls, down 12 steps, one extremely slow lift which would take one chair at a time. Despite the theatre telling us we had all 6 wheelchair spaces, there were other spaces, so lots of wheelchairs fighting for space in the lift, guess who won.
One young man couldn’t get into his allocated seat for various reasons. Quickly rearranged seats, working blind as the seating plan had been left somewhere on the coach after comforting one young man as he was upset because he didn’t want his nan to come with him and he sent her home!!!!!!!!!!! This meant some parents had to be moved away from their child, children didn’t seem to mind at all.
Our big wheelchairs took up almost all of the space in front of the wheelchair row so people couldn’t walk past. At least everyone in the theatre knew we had arrived!!!!
Show brilliant, everyone loved it.
Most youngsters needed the toilet after show. Two accessible toilets. Couldn’t get to one as this would mean getting past all the other wheelchairs and as there wasn’t room to walk there was no way of getting wheelchairs past.
Back up in the lift one at a time, queue for one accessible toilet which was not big enough to swing the proverbial cat let alone take a big wheelchair and two carers. Julie ended up helping Tracey and Jennika, with Julie’s coat hanging in the sink. Tap accidently knocked on with stray arm – one wet coat and then Jennika ran over Julie’s foot in the confined space!!!
Meanwhile, Kathie, Zakia and her carer Kim had got fed up of waiting for the accessible toilet so investigated the normal ones downstairs, women’s too small so only option was the men’s!!! Passing male was accosted to go and check it was empty, luckily he was a nurse so he understood. Decided they could just about manage in the men’s, left the wheelchair blocking the corridor and the male nurse (with a Mohican) was left holding Kathie’s large bright pink handbag on guard outside whilst all 3 squashed into one cubicle!!! Good job we are all good friends!!!!
Saw Natasha briefly on the way out!!!!!
Loaded coach, Tracey operating lift, Kathie loading folded wheelchairs, walkers and anything else that stood still long enough to be thrown under the coach. Barry strapping kids in whilst still having a nervous breakdown because we were operating his lift.
Boiling hot on the way home – Barry had obviously discovered how to operate the heating!!!
Back to Oak Park at 11-30pm. Unloaded coach, by this time Barry a shivering wreck but when it was all over he admitted he couldn’t have done it without us, or if he had done it on his own we would still have been in Nottingham now.
Seriously, we have had lots of phone calls and e-mails saying how much the young people and parents/carers enjoyed the night so we suppose it must have been worth it
All this was communicated in a Message to our line manager with the postscript of ……….. ’Hope you aren’t laughing!!!!!!’
Our line manager then replied…….
No I’m not laughing- I am roaring with laughter and wiping away the tears and just picturing it all in my head- all the while thinking it’s a shame they no longer do the ‘Carry on…’ films as I think you lot live in one permanently!!! Has Barry booked into Dorothy Pattison????
By the way- that’s not the version of events that has appeared on the website- I think your version should be published!!!
You lot crack me up!!! In all seriousness I do think you should put this version on the website as its all about real life for the young people and their parents and I think everyone would see the funny side!! Take care. Suz xxx