Lucy Crouch — Change100 intern 2014

Lucy Crouch outside Number 10 Downing StreetLucy Crouch, who has both a learning disability and long term health condition, was excited about joining Leonard Cheshire’s fundraising department. The 20-year-old studies english literature at the University of Leicester.

She was one of four disabled students at a reception held at Downing Street in May who are about to take their first steps on the career ladder. This has been made possible through Leonard Cheshire’s innovative Change100 programme which offers paid internships with high performing companies in the UK.

‘Going through the 10 Downing Street front door felt completely unreal. I met some really inspiring people at the reception, especially the other undergraduates involved in Change100.

The programme is an incredible opportunity and I hope it will change employer’s views on the competence of disabled candidates.

The Change100 programme resonated with Lucy because she has experienced discrimination in the workplace before. She said: ‘I have had to leave previous jobs because my employers have not been fully supportive of my disability and have seen it as an excuse to skive work.

‘Many people have stereotypes about what a disabled person should look like. My impairments are invisible, so without a physical reminder of my disabilities, colleagues have been unsympathetic and assume that I am just a lazy worker. I am a very competent and driven person, and so it is very frustrating to be held back by things that are out of my control.

‘I couldn't wait to join Leonard Cheshire and looked forward to people seeing me for who I am and what I can achieve.’

Due to constraints of several entry level positions in retail, Lucy has had to leave jobs that she was good at and take positions that are physically demanding and unsuitable. She relished the opportunity to expand her skills and get work experience with the high profile charity.

She continues: ‘I was so excited to get started with my internship. I am a completely able and competent candidate, and my disabilities should not stand in the way of that.’

Lucy Crouch began her Change100 placement in summer 2014. Find out more about Change100 and how you can get involved, whether as a student or a business.