Lucy Hinksman – Breaking Barriers
We have written about Lucy Hinksman (campaigner, photographer and artist) in Pembrokeshire.Online previously and knew you would like an update on what has been happening with her.
Lucy is passionate about the rights of people with learning disabilities, and her work as a campaigner with Pembrokeshire People First and All Wales People First for over 12 years has been especially important to her. When she heard the BBC inviting people to explain how they would run Wales if they had the chance, she was keen to respond.
Lucy’s first-hand experience of living with a learning disability means she understands the barriers people like herself can face, and with the reduction in funding for advocacy support in Wales, she is fearful that the problems can only get worse.
Quoting the social model of disability which identifies those barriers that make it difficult for people with ‘disabilities’ to fully participate in society, Lucy told the BBC that a change of attitudes was essential.
“It is the barriers in society that makes people disabled,” she told the BBC. “If attitudes change, we are no longer disabled.” She went on to say that she felt more people like herself should be involved in government to relieve the loneliness and isolation faced by so many people with learning disabilities and to remove barriers to employment.
Lucy’s own experience is a case in point. She worked for six years in the hospitality industry and, despite having an NVQ in hospitality and catering, was never given the opportunity or support to advance beyond washing up.
She explained that employers could offer more support if they understood what was needed. “I believe that learning about disability awareness should be available in schools and the workplace,” she said. “Our voices should be heard.”
Hearing her voice, the BBC Wales Today was impressed enough to broadcast an interview with her. She has since had further interviews with Claire Summers of the BBC Radio Wales Breakfast programme and, of course, Pembrokeshire.Online.
Lucy went on to say that she thinks ‘labels’ divide people. “I am Lucy first. Having a learning disability just means that there are some things I need more support with. Everyone needs support with something.”
As well as campaigning, Lucy has her own photography business and is an active community member of the VC Gallery, based in Haverfordwest, a project set up to support veterans and the wider community through creativity. She is currently working with the VC’s Art Group on one of the Gallery’s latest projects, the Art of Memories, which aims to collect the stories of veterans in Pembrokeshire and transform them into works of art.
Lucy can be contacted through her Facebook page and is always happy to consider commissions for her photography.