VIDEO: “I don’t want the taxpayer paying for me, I want to be a taxpayer” says disabled Hemel Hempstead woman

A Hemel Hempstead epilepsy sufferer made an impassioned plea for a job at a meeting today.

Lisa Berry, 41, of Woodhall Farm, was speaking to employers at a meeting of Accessible Dacorum, which aims to get disabled people ready for employment.

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Lisa, who became an epilepsy sufferer at the age of seven when she fell over and hit her head on a brick, said: “I don’t want the taxpayer paying for me, I want to be a taxpayer.”

She is tough, having lost three children, surviving cancer and also living with diabetes.

“I’ve come through loads of obstacles,” said Lisa in front of a gathering at an empty shop unit in The Marlowes Shopping Centre.

She ran a B&B in Bovingdon for some time and has worked at the Post Office. But she lost her job after suffering a seizure.

“I have written 150 applications, gone to 30 interviews but received no job offers,” she said. She works at Oxfam as a volunteer and would try self-employment.

“I need someone to give me back my identity,” she added. “Would you make me a job offer?”

After the meeting Lisa was approached with a view to applying for a local job, so it’s a case of watch this space.

The Accessible Dacorum employers event was opened by Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning who said disabled people make great workers because they have been through tough times and are survivors.

Cathy McCormack, from Tesco Stores, works at Jarman Park alongside some “inspirational” people with disabilities.

“Disabled people are very much part of our team,” she said. “They show greater loyalty and length of service.”

Wheelchair user Adam Harsent, injured in a road crash in 2010, works for the Royal Mail and says the company did everything to help him go back to work.

“I thought it was the end of my promotion chances but it wasn’t,” he said.

Event organiser Tobi Manikin-Collett, the managing director of Diverse HR Solutions, said: “Disabled people want to work desperately.”

She added that employers could get government help to make reasonable adjustments at work.