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Interview with Helen Dewdney about that boots sign and disability.

This is the transcript, generated on Please bear with me as I go through it over the next few weeks and update errors. I haven't got the spoons this week due to the social media malarkey.

So many thanks to Helen Dewdney of The Complaining Cow for this opportunity.

Helen Dewdney 1:00

Welcome to the complaining cow consumer show on East London radio. And today I have Kekezza Reece with me who is an acceptance and adaptation coach. And we'll talk a little bit more about that later. But I want to just say first of all, because Welcome and thank you for joining us. And I came across Kezza Last week when I came across a social media post that she did. So we're going to start with that because it tell me all about how you and I got in contact.

Kekezza Reece 1:28

Ah yes, the boots photo. Not exactly how I thought I'd go viral but I'll be known as the parking lady forever and about now. I pulled up to boots as you do to buy your supplies like you do. And we happen to park in the space right in front of this massive sign that used to say disabled parking and now at that point said, less abled, I can't even tell you how bad that isn't English, less abled parking. I think for a moment I literally looked at the phone just blinks I wasn't quite sure I've read it right. You know, when you go somewhere all the time, and it's the same all the time. You don't really notice it anymore. And then I did have to read it a few times. And then I couldn't be just thinking I can't believe there could be less. I actually cried. I mean I am premenopausal but I did feel absolutely all the wind take out my sails for a moment.

Helen Dewdney 2:19

And so tell it tell listeners what what you did when you when you saw that sign

Kekezza Reece 2:25

out and take a picture like you do when you're not quite sure or quite believed that you've seen what you've seen. I took a picture. So I knew I had caught it because I went into beats and got my hair bleach because I dyed my hair it's like green and purple. And I got back in the car to be presented by the sign again because obviously it's right in front of the windscreen. And at that point I think my brain had caught up and the rage absolutely was breathtaking. And I think the angle was why eventually posted it. It took me two weeks. It actually took me two weeks from taking the photograph to have calmed myself down enough to write something fairly coherent on LinkedIn. And then later on Twitter, because of all the things you could call a disabled person. I don't think less had ever, ever entered into my thought process that that accompany had could ever think that that was on any stretch of any imagination appropriate. But when I can feel the anger coming back now, I still to this day cannot understand what they were thinking.

Helen Dewdney 3:34

It was it was quite incredible. Isn't it? Because when I came across it, I think someone else had shared it. And and so it was all sort of going viral all over the place. And in general, most people were in agreement and giving out examples of how and why. It was just not appropriate. And what I noticed was the only people that just went Oh, does it really matter of course for people who were not disabled themselves. Yes. You know, they just did that and that is again and bear in mind.

Kekezza Reece 4:00

We're Thursday this only happened only put the tweet up the post last Friday categorically across the board. Everybody who is within the disabled community classes themselves as disabled or recognises their attachment within the disability community have all gone they said what everybody else I'm including those that are what I would class as disabled but they don't feel comfortable using the word have gone. Well, I quite like it. Or I don't see what the big deal is or but I'm in less abled. And certainly what was your

Helen Dewdney 4:40

What was your response to those people?

Kekezza Reece 4:42

Well, one I've never been less ever. I'm not that kind of person to have ever been called less anything. I mean, even at about the age of four or five, it was called a loudmouth. And then you've got those that are clearly disabled, but don't feel comfortable calling themselves disabled. I find those are the ones that you can have a genuine conversation with. Because I think deep down I think they know who they are, but there's this uncomfortableness around disability. That is, I mean, we're talking centuries old at this point. It's so fully ingrained within our society that I don't think people even realise that what they're dealing with is you've got external ableism which is quite obvious, like the sign and then you've got this internalised ableism which everybody has I have it everybody has it where you subconsciously because it will the rest of us we get our entire lives subconsciously think we are worth less because in some way we are prevented from being able to fully take part in anything we could ever possibly imagine doing. I think that's why I went into coaching. Actually, there's very little I can't do. Obviously I'm never going to clarify upstairs. But the things that I want to do nothing actually stops me from doing that. My quality of life is phenomenal law. I own my own house. I have children, I married a gorgeous dog. I run a business I've always I've always run my business since I was about 19. There's nothing that I can think of that I want to do that I can't figure out how to do it.

Helen Dewdney 6:16

It was kind of It wasn't something the ones that quite a few people sort of said what is this about less able to assume it means less able to actually park

Kekezza Reece 6:24

policy, the sense of humour some people had was absolutely phenomenal and that's usually people within the community. If I had a lot of that on Twitter, it is the conversation then turn to if it's less able to park in it must be how you can't reverse what you're reversing the pipes face and your sequence boards. Yeah, I

Helen Dewdney 6:42

mean that was that was then on another one that we saw wasn't it that actually you couldn't get you couldn't get a wheelchair.

Kekezza Reece 6:47

You would have been between the bollards. They were like every metre on long list car park and it was they have the same sign although apparently it's now being changed.

Helen Dewdney 6:58

Yeah, let's Yeah, so let's get back to sort of watch what happened after your, your your tweets went went viral. What then happened?

Kekezza Reece 7:06

I got this template response from boots, which clearly someone had designed this as the answer and then there was copied and pasted to everybody everywhere. Anybody who shared the photograph Yeah, got this image boots asked me for my email address, which I gave them on Twitter. I got a reference number which is apparently my complaints number. And that's it from boots.

Helen Dewdney 7:28

Yeah, love that. That message was copied and paste. I mean, in fact, I got it when I emailed the press office for a comment but when I wrote the story out that I got that same copy and paste because that was copied pasted to everybody who who shared your photo.

Kekezza Reece 7:44

Because it's a template answer. It's meaningless. And then you've got this back. Well, but that wasn't my question. My question wasn't, are you going to change the sign because quite clearly, at this point, you are going to be changing a sign because the photographs gone viral. But the question then when you find it, it's not the only one that's listed as less able to they put up more than one sign which means this is a national decision and not a local one. This is a branding thing. So this is when you start the branding of boots is branding wise, they've decided to instead of have disabled parking, they're going to have less abled parking. And I presume that thinking was to allow more people to be able to use these spaces, which is all very well and good, but I'm in a frigging wheelchair. If someone decides that they're slightly less able to the next door neighbour and use the space which is wider for a reason. So I can get my door open. I can get into my wheelchair beside my door. So I can actually get out of my car. I'm now stuck in a position where I can't go to boots to pick up my prescription my hair dye my bitten mins because anybody that then decides that they are slightly less abled than somebody else can use the park and it becomes so old to Dallas to be completely

Helen Dewdney 8:58

meaningless. Yeah, it was really quite ridiculous and that that sort of statement sort of sat down with the fact that they said and it wasn't, there wasn't a national thing. And then you found another photo, which they then said that sign had been removed a year ago and it was taken from Google Maps and it now no longer exists. But it does show that actually they're saying that it wasn't a national thing. It went against that because clearly it was at some point and we'll probably find signs, other places or why wasn't the one that you use got it taken down at the same time as the other ones taking. It was wrong then I think

Kekezza Reece 9:35

we later found out the other one had been removed a year ago. Which means for a year, yeah, they've known that this sign is not corrected. Do they not have a list of where they put all their signs up? It is boots. That's boots no one hand is doing when the other hands waving. This is just astonishing from such a big company.

Helen Dewdney 9:57

It is isn't it? It is quite incredible how they just didn't do an audit and say, right, let's just do a sweep here. Let's just check, check. I mean, I wonder why they removed that one. What was that from a complaint and then they just thought, oh, we'll just change this one. And then they didn't think actually let's go and check all of the others. Yes, it made it sound like it was a store decision to make and that clearly it wasn't

Kekezza Reece 10:19

no no exactly what we were originally led to believe that this was just a myth happened at Norwich that it was decision locally. And my it was my husband as he said to me ah sounds like someone's about to be scapegoated. That's not the point. And then the second sign came up literally within 24 hours. I was like, Ah, this really is a national decision. And you really do have to sit there and go nationally, boots have probably got a branding consultant. They've got some kind of team around their brand because they're there that's the size that they are. They have brand consistency because all companies that have brands that side will have brand guidelines, which means somewhere in a booklet summarise the brand guideline for their disabled parking signs at some point someone's changed it from disabled to less abled. And so I mean how do

Helen Dewdney 11:05

you think they'll have a really good guess but but we'll go for it anyway. Why? Why do you think that it just happened? You know, who are they not talking to? Why are they not talking to them?

Kekezza Reece 11:16

This comes back to this uncomfortable feeling that everybody gets when they consider this ability. Is it means you're aiming something a particular marginalised group, but they've also decided not to actually speak to that marginalised group, which is disabled people or even disabled disability consultants. It's not like they're not easy to find. And you just have to stick it on LinkedIn. There's loads of them who are actually disabled. And I think it all comes back to the uncomfortable feeling that everybody has when we start thinking about disabled disability and disabled as a whole. And I think that's where you I sit is I became disabled a decade ago. It's it's before that it's not for my ever thought about as I walked down a high street and I walked into a shop because I had to lift my foot to get into the shop and it's at the very basic level of disabilities, wheelchairs, obviously, there's a whole cacophony of disabilities, but then suddenly when you don't have the ability to lift your foot to walk into the shop, and you're on wheels, it becomes very blatantly obvious just how much people don't talk about disability at all. And whenever you bring the conversation up, there's this uncomfortable pneus that kind of permeates the air around you.

Helen Dewdney 12:33

What do you think boots should do now?

Kekezza Reece 12:36

I honestly think they need to look at their diversity, equity and the i inclusive Oh, yeah. In include, I believe that went in collusion or inclusivity. That that last one that's got the I that I'm going to be very snarky here and go, How about actually including us? It just seems so obvious to me. I mean, like so obvious that if you're looking at your D AI team, and none of the people you are talking about are on that team, you're not got a dei team because all these big corporations have them now have made these these team of people go to to make sure that everything's he comes to a politically correct in this world that we're so is changing so fast on so many levels. If you're looking at your D it when you haven't got the very marginalised groups that they are supposed to be including literally making up that team. It is not a D it it is a team of people that you have sent to sit in a classroom, and I've looked up the courses because obviously since the photograph went viral, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole. I can do certificate in as little as about two to four hours. How that's when it becomes

Helen Dewdney 13:46

a tick box exercise. It

Kekezza Reece 13:47

is it is absolutely 100% this and then you kind of go and then I went down the absolute rabbit hole of oh my goodness, I went down the disability confident mark which is again a tick box exercise for companies. So when you look at the lovely disability confidence signs that I've got these companies have it's so easy for them to get them if they've got the money with which to purchase it. And then there's two levels where they actually have to meet certain guidelines but none of the companies that I looked up have actually met the secondary list of guidelines. And then the rabbit hole just get the gets it's bottomless. It is what it is literally no longer rabbit hole versus that this is a bottomless pit of disability. And I think that's pretty much where my heart went. When I realised how easy it is for these companies to be appeared to be doing and they are appearing to be doing but they're actually doing nothing. It's very easy even our boots to go on and that we've changed the site. Great, but how are you going to stop it from happening next time?

Helen Dewdney 14:45

Yeah. And how are you going to train those people who made the decision that it was okay to put that there because they're now going to make another mistake.

Kekezza Reece 14:54

And it might have even been disability community, the DE AND I, it deals with everything. That whole diversity. Equality quite right to me. There's not considered British mainstream. I'm being very politically correct in my words now because I don't want to irritate anybody. When I'm talking about marginalised groups. There are lots of marginalised groups and if you've got a D AI team, if that team is not now you put them all into a room and you look across the faces in front of you, if the team itself is not representing the actual group that they are supposed to be, you're talking about ally you know, Ally ship at this point. If they're not actually made up of those people, how can they possibly understand the nuances of being in that group?

Helen Dewdney 15:43

Do you think any, any retailers are getting it right on the way to getting it right?

Kekezza Reece 15:48

Do you know I took my 17 year old son to Sainsbury's the other day, and it's just called blue badge parking. And that very basic level? It's spot on? Yeah. But unfortunately, Sainsbury's has other issues. So no, no, not a single company, I would say is actually getting this right across the board. I been to the Science Museum recently, which was phenomenal. Can I just say there's loads of lifts, but there's no signage to find the lifts. I got permission by email to take my sister's dog. I know I don't need permission to take my assistants dog into these places because my sister's dog is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross poodle. I make it a point to email beforehand. She's a psychiatric doc she's because I've got complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ADHD, and autism, although I didn't know about the autism at that point that I was deciding to get this assistance dog. So I cleared it. I've gotten it in and had a bag search. I've shown my tickets so at no point have I gone into the science machine and not being manhandled in some way by several people. And I'm still in the middle of an exhibition on the science fiction exhibition, by the way was absolutely phenomenal. And there's security guard comes up to me and goes, oh, what type of dog is that? And I went to kava doodle, and he goes, No, that's not what I meant. I meant but that's what you asked. And he said What makes you think you can bring a dog in the museum? I remember thinking because she's an assistance dog. Oh, yes. That's the word I was looking for. Thanks very much Mafia Wars. I remember thinking, why don't you just ask Is she an assistance dog and secondary on on what level could I possibly got into the museum being you've got to have you bags checked, go through security, show your ticket and also my ticket to get into the Sci Fi exhibition because it's a paid exhibition. So I've been, you know, I've had to have actual face to face contact with at least three people to being sat where I was sat in my wheelchair Why is he been asking? Why is he pinging me out of the exhibition that I've paid to be in to ask me why I bought a dog in the museum when quite clearly it's emblazoned all over her jacket, and two, I've spoken to three people to even get into the exhibition. I presume that if I wasn't allowed an assistance dog in the museum which obviously I am because it's a legal requirement, one of them would have asked issue as a stock. I couldn't have been set where I was without at least three people having seen the practice I've got a dog sat on my lap

Helen Dewdney 18:10

doesn't make you think it was it just ignorance was it just was it lack of trust in all of his colleagues? Just why did you have to do that? Really?

Kekezza Reece 18:19

Oh, oh, he comes to trust question. Yeah. That's something that I bear in mind. I really become a wheelchair user about 10 years ago. The Wrath of people who aren't disabled at disabled people just existing in public has definitely gotten worse over the last decade. 10 years ago, people would have opened doors for me it would have been people commenting on my hair colour because it's one of the reasons I dye my hair is because set in a wheelchair people just don't see you I travel at all I love this. There's a blog so it's it's troubling that fart height. And it really does sum up the experience when you're sitting in a wheelchair because you are at that height and height. I've travelled around the world at bump height. And the whole conversation about disability is sort of becoming something about you know, it's just a normal part of the human condition. It went downhill very quickly over the last 10 years. I

Helen Dewdney 19:10

know why what why why do you think it is

Kekezza Reece 19:13

so about 10 to 12 years ago, there was a change in government that decided they would overhaul the benefits system changed from disability living allowance to personal independence payments now to make that change palatable. For the human race in this country. A lot of conversations were had around fraud and how there were so many people fraudulently claiming disability benefits as somebody who couldn't get even as a wheelchair user couldn't get disability benefits, because I wasn't considered disabled enough if I get

Helen Dewdney 19:53

on an epic journey, because in Duncan Smith, who was Secretary of State for WP at the time, and I remember going to see him because he is my MP, actually, most people who have got an issue or needed help with their benefits or were trying to move move house, but they weren't caught out but what was colloquially called the the bedroom tax, and all of those kinds of things. I thought you know what I'm going to I'm going to go I'm going to go on, I'm gonna record it, and I did record it and I put it on the YouTube channel. And I asked him a lot of things about, you know, the, the organisations that were involved in sort of telling people that they were, you know, fit to work when they were in hospital and you know, all those kinds of things. He he just did not get it. He did not get it. And I went back a second time and had and had another go. But I think you're right that all that time didn't help. There were programmes. There were programmes on the telly going all of all his benefit frauds, benefits straight wasn't there and you know those kinds of programmes but where's the other end of actually, there are there's 3 billion pounds not claimed in benefits. You know, there's that there's people who are totally and utterly

Kekezza Reece 21:11

not even that you know, what the figures they originally used to say. How about that there was all this fraud going on in the in the British benefits system. There was masses and masses of fraud and they kept going on and on about scroungers and people who weren't disabled you were all the the fakers, the fake. The fake is were all faking it, but when you actually looked at the numbers, I believe it was 20 P out of every 100 pounds. Yeah, mad and then and then and then you actually divided that down as to what was included in the 20 P out of every 100 pounds. Now what they included was all the tax credits, overpayments, all the mistakes that they had made, not us. Let's face it with tax credits, that's 1000s All the people that had got bonuses at work that year, and we're now in an overpayment on their tax credits were included. Obviously Ford was obviously also cluded. But when you actually asked them what the actual breakdown was, they couldn't produce it. And even to this day, a decade later, that's still really winds me up but even to this day, they still couldn't tell you actually what percentage of people claiming Disability Living Allowance were faking their disability because I'm pretty sure I can probably count on one hand the amount of people that that actually was,

Helen Dewdney 22:24

yeah, of course people assessing them had you know, we're not doctors, they were just using it you know, less than, Oh, it was it's still a chase. And what's interesting, though, is that that the same scrutiny is not applied to the completely other end of the tax fraud or the really rich. You know, how many, how many millions have been wasted as

Kekezza Reece 22:46

checkbox isn't even applied to the people getting government contracts. You've got people and this is really, really relevant. You've got COVID pandemic where they were supplying the billion pound contracts to people to produce PPE that was supposed to be used in our hospitals to literally save the people who were tied to work every day to deal with the people who were actually dying. And then everyone produced PPE that could be used billions was the with the refund if I bought PPE, right from my local shop you know, I buy rubber gloves, and they get them home and then not usable. You take them back to the shop and get your refund. Now why is this not the same with government contracts? Why is it we can't get a refund from these companies who have billions of taxpayers money? Oh, I'm really getting on the rant as well.

Helen Dewdney 23:40

Absolutely. You know, I think there are a lot of people still wondering that and and Where where are the court cases you know, where are the bookcases

Kekezza Reece 23:50

supplying products unfit for but it was not fit for purpose. So, here I am and other personal independence. Process is absolutely degrading. It is humiliating, and it has been purposely set up that way so we don't apply so I'll be damned if I'm not going to apply. So I did do get it I get enhanced both and I'm not ashamed of that because it's specifically designed in the UK for disabled people you can claim it whether you're working or you're not. So even if I got an income of Amazon ce o proportions like it will technically claim PIP which I agree with because there is a Disability Tax just for existing and that was the point of delay and Personal Independence Payment is because the government at some point in the past recognise the fact that just being an existing costs us more it costs us more on our electricity bills. It costs us more on our diesel. It costs us more in our water, because I have to wash sheets more often because I have to wear pants. Again, not embarrassed because it is just part of being disabled. It's not anything that stopped me from doing what I want to do. I still do everything I want to do. My quality of life is still incredibly good. Although every time I pick when you as you always do. I can't say the same because I know what's going to happen. I'm gonna have some persons sat in my living room, staring me in absolute astonishment, because they never dealt with their internalised ableism that I can't peel a carrot. And I think

Helen Dewdney 25:25

it really comes back to what we were saying about about boots and other retailers that if you don't involve the right people who it affects in those decision makings in developing those forms. You're gonna go wrong, which is what happened. It reinforces the ableism Yeah, and it's and that they haven't had they clearly haven't had the training. They haven't had anything really making decisions about things they know nothing about.

Kekezza Reece 25:49

No one's ever sat them down and gone. What's your internal bias and perceptions on this group of people because they clearly haven't because if they had they never put less. You never call a human being less?

Helen Dewdney 26:02

Not quite. I mean, there were lots of sorts of sort of things about the about the whole story that you that you highlighted, and of course now it's probably going quiet again. So we don't know whether boots are going to look at the rest of their the rest of their signs. I've asked but didn't get a reply. I've just had this happen. How are you going to ensure it doesn't happen again, and I've not had a reply to that. And I've chased so it will be some see what happens. We'll we'll pick it up maybe in six months time and see to see if it's if it was still but there were other issues as well because it it's you know, one of the things was that people actually took your image as well, didn't they?

Kekezza Reece 26:40

And it's always within the community, which is so frustrating is yes, I'm disabled. I'm a disabled photographer. I'm a disabled person who's actually raised the complaint and then you've got disability consultants or d i as well who just and they've I presume they've right clicked and saved my image. Why they couldn't just be post and comment like everyone else has done. Everybody in the community has done that. repost with quote and they've added their 10 penneth Worth which is exactly what you're supposed to do, because it allows us when we are pushing for change to keep an eye on the numbers. And then people like disabled charities. Also, they they take the photograph, and it's so frustrating because it really isn't that hard to reverse image. I did it myself to see I come up. Wow, imagine that. It's not hard to do an image so it's not hard. To go well I'll do a search on Twitter for boots parking sign or LinkedIn for boots parking sign and see what comes up and you can follow it back to the original person. It lots of people are sharing one person's post How hard is it to realise and contact that person? And go, is this your photograph? Why did you take it? What does this mean to you now?

Helen Dewdney 27:59

I mean, I just I find it amazing that sort of disability campaigners, disability organisations were not retweeting you, and we're taking the photo and then tweeting it because actually that takes more effort than clicking retweet

Kekezza Reece 28:11

it really does. And I think this comes down to they want to be seen to be doing Oh, look, here we go again, but don't actually want to put the work in to actually do and it's it's it's important, obviously, that these things, get the numbers it's really important. It gets reposted retweeted. reshard, you know, we don't get changed without volume. Yeah, but when I go to boots and go, Well, no, they didn't change the sign. I got to be able to continue it and go well, actually 100,000 people on LinkedIn alone, have viewed acknowledged or commented on this, but I can't do that if you just take the photograph without the person who did it besides, which is just so disrespectful,

Helen Dewdney 28:54

was that say I just think I just think it was really rude breach of copyright. very lazy, in some respects where it was reported where people hadn't looked properly and hadn't sort of looked fully at things because I know there was another one who, who completely credited you and she got over 100,000 views and comments. And so that was a big one. That was a really big one that that helped the story. Absolutely. It was full credit to you.

Kekezza Reece 29:21

I think it's so important. And I think it becomes more important when you're talking about marginalised groups is to make sure you keep a thread going to the original person, because to us, to me, it's not just a sign to me it's not just about consultancy, and advocacy. To me I'm sat in my chair staring at this sign that boots have decided was appropriate and it's it's personal. Businesses personal business has always been personal because business is made up of people therefore it is personal.

Helen Dewdney 29:58

This is very difficult to know what to say and was not really because it's it is just it's just what it's so rude. Isn't it? In my level, it's all of this is just really rude. It's just rude.

Kekezza Reece 30:11

And it comes down to when it's about disability. The terminology is ableism and it's external and internal ableism the external it's obvious to see it surrounds us every day. You would only have to walk down the high street to see within the planning department, the lack of even we're not even allowed to thought the disabled people were the ones having to make changes retro actively because every time we go anywhere, they haven't even thought about us at the planning department let alone Oh, hang on a minute. How is the disabled person going to get in Norwich markets a great example of that. It was actually wheelchair accessible before and then Norwich City Council decided they would overhaul the entire market to make it new and shiny and excellent but it's now stepped although I can go up the lanes I can't get into the any of the actual units so they have pop up shops and artists as well. It was one of the things I was looking to do is have a pop up shop and being that it is run by Norwich City Council. I genuinely just thought when I booked it did have a ramp. It never occurred to me. It never occurred to me even in a million years that Norwich City Council who runs the pop up shop for the Norwich market, which we've had in Norwich for hundreds of years. It never even dawned on me that the unit wouldn't be in some way wheelchair accessible but nice. So I had my money refunded which is all very well and nice. But I actually wanted the pop up shop and I'd actually like Norwich City Council to consider the fact that wheelchair people actually exist

Helen Dewdney 31:44

under they've excluded they have absolutely excluded a great number of people. I mean, I would say Have I been challenged on the Equality Act on that.

Kekezza Reece 31:54

I don't have the time, money or energy and let's face it, that's what they count on. They will count on it. For me to take it to court. It requires money because Legal Aid no longer exists requires time and no offence. I'm a busy disabled parent with disabled kids who runs a business helping people. I also art paint in my spare time and I really just don't have the time and then there's the energy.

Helen Dewdney 32:23

And that's I mean that's the thing. It does take a lot of time and I just wondered if anyone had just asked them for a comment on did they feel they were breaking? And Helen if you feel like you're more than welcome. I will do when was the when was this done? That they

Kekezza Reece 32:37

tried to get a pop up shop in 2020 20 When COVID happened I tried to get a pop up shop end of 2019 Give twins twin T because 2020 was my big year to have exhibitions for my art and then all the exhibitions got cancelled. COVID

Helen Dewdney 32:55

And nothing and nothing has changed in the No nothing's

Kekezza Reece 32:59

changed I don't have the end I don't even think I've got the you get to a point when you just get weary of fighting all the time. The but the boots parking sign was just so in my face.

Helen Dewdney 33:11

It's just amazing that the market that if that happened in 2020 and they haven't made any improvements and they must have known because you got your money back.

Kekezza Reece 33:18

So apparently wasn't the first one either.

Helen Dewdney 33:22

So so they didn't know about it and we haven't made any changes until in three years. Incredible, isn't it? It's incredible. It's just this blatant ignorance of apathy, isn't it?

Kekezza Reece 33:34

And I think it's because they don't think we're people. I don't know how to explain it. There's this thing with disability is there's this infantilization where we're all children. We're not allowed to swear

Helen Dewdney 33:48

as much as you love and go down very

Kekezza Reece 33:49

well with a woman who's 46 and is Peri menopausal. But we're forever I mean, even going this is this is what I mean. I've been what I've been in the chair now 10 years and even even something as simple as going into a shop or going to a clothing store right? And I've popped around on my wheelchair or my mobility scooters. I had a few years ago because I wasn't psychologically ready for the wheelchair. And that's a whole nother story of internalised. Ableism because we got on our own journey through disability. You get to the till right now at the time I remember having my son with me and this is you talking 567 years ago, so he would have been about 1011. So we've got up to the counter, I got my great big bag of clothing and I unloaded it onto the counter and made ping it all through and then they look at my son who's 10 and they tell him how much it is.

Helen Dewdney 34:44

That's a classic does he take sugar and

Kekezza Reece 34:46

it's like, yes, it is. But God's 2023 Yeah,

Helen Dewdney 34:52

I mean, the classic does he take sugar story? You know, people do that. I mean, that was decades ago, but it hasn't changed.

Kekezza Reece 34:58

Nothing. Nothing has changed and nothing will change for as long as people go, Oh, I'm uncomfortable about having this conversation. So I'm just not going to have it. Sit in that bloody uncomfortableness for God's sake. It's enough already enough already. I've had enough I have I'm weary I'm tired. I'm bone grindingly tired. And I've only been in the wheelchair 10 years, people that have been born into their chairs who are in their 50s 60s and 70s. I mean honestly, they've been banging their heads against walls forever.

Helen Dewdney 35:25

Yeah, I mean, we just keep is keep fighting. I mean on a on a more positive note, I think we should should end on a positive note because we could probably rant for a very long time very long time. No, no positive note tell people about what it is that you do.

Kekezza Reece 35:41

Ah, what am I do? Why do I do it? It's well, why do I do it? Well, the whole discussion explains why I do it. A few years ago, I ended up in hospital because I got so overwhelmed, tired and weary of life that I ended up with my gastric system completely stopping I remember being in this hospital. Ward, I was only in there 40 hours, this massive trip that they couldn't put through any faster if they tried. And I'm set on this ward with this very weird mixed group of women and we're all just natural in a way. I think it was for the first time in my life. I'd actually got in my adult life. I got to stop. They literally just bring you feed. It's great just to sit there thinking and I can only explain it as a bit of a eureka moment. I was a business mentor years ago, came out and retrained as a life coach, and I'm the least life coaching person on the planet. But I don't know anybody who's like me. I'm gonna be I'm loud. I'm moody as all hell and I chose a life coach. I specialised I niched, my niche are women of my age. Just got a diagnosis. Who knew the least existed? So I help people deal with their internalised. Ableism external ableism I help them basically come to terms with mostly it's neurodivergent late diagnosed perimenopause or women which I think is hilarious. We are very particular bunch you've managed to get this far in life without even realising when neurodivergent now for me that's autism and ADHD. For a lot of the women I speak to it's ADHD, autism, a mix of the both or something else as well. All of the all of the above. And Perry has a very particular way of taking your brain and scrambling that and when you're neurodivergent everything just collapses. You can't even think straight. I think your whole life kind of falls apart. I mean, obviously I ended up in hospital because of it. I I don't want anyone to have to go through that alone. Because I did once you realise what it is that's been holding you back. It's like someone tips all the hurdles over on a run you know, there's still bear the hurdles, but because, you know, they they're we can work out how to go around them instead of over them or through them or under them or, or in my case at this moment in time I'm smacking them over because I've had enough so that's what I do. Adaptation and acceptance, acceptance, obviously coming to accept who you are, what makes you up and how you can use that to your best ability and adapt everything else because the world isn't built for us, but I'll be damned if that's gonna stop me stop me or my clients.

Helen Dewdney 38:22

Absolutely as what we'd like to hear. So where can people find you?

Kekezza Reece 38:25

I do all my coaching online because Zoom is phenomenal. And that's what I use. It means you don't have to come to me, it means you can do it in the comfort of your own home, which for a lot of us is a lot more accessible. And if you can't do zoom, I also do text based coaching because a lot of people don't deal with video or text or phone calls but the bass is something I also do I have discord and telegram and signal and wherever you find the most accessible I will learn how to do it so I can help you. But I'm online. I got a website but I'm I'm known as at neurodivergent coach and if you stick that in Instagram or Facebook or tick tock, I am there. I don't rant as much as I perhaps should. But I

Helen Dewdney 39:09

love rants people love rants.

Kekezza Reece 39:10

Yes, I think I should rant more. I think it's coming. I've hit that tipping point of the boot sign I think was just the last it was definitely the last straw.

Helen Dewdney 39:18

Definitely do runs I do runs people like runs I do rants on Instagram people like them because they sort of identify with them quite a lot even if it's just you know your everyday thing they identify with you know

Kekezza Reece 39:29

what I think I've just come up with a name for my my the last straw is actually very apt because I use straws and then they banned so freaking phenomenally wrong. Like even so I am there I will I just don't like see myself on the camera so I

Helen Dewdney 39:47

use it together. I just don't watch it. Do it and then just don't watch it. I like

Kekezza Reece 39:51

your idea. This is brilliant. Audio.

Helen Dewdney 39:55

Yeah, no one can see you. It's brilliant. It's brilliant. To say nothing of being able to edit stuff out when you go wrong but it's really really this was three hours long.

Kekezza Reece 40:14

Like when we tiktoks

Helen Dewdney 40:17

what I just said the Instagram these from when I started doing antivirals on Instagram and they were reduced to 30 seconds I couldn't do it I could not

Kekezza Reece 40:26

possibly ever ranting I probably get out this is the last show and that would be

Helen Dewdney 40:34

like Sunday and I can do longer rails now. So I'm fat I find it far easier to rant now. Just rant that you know but when you when you have to be reduced to those things, I think one of my first brands was about being reduced to 30 seconds that's not helpful is to BIM is it really just defeats the object

Kekezza Reece 40:57

is good for your mental health. Everybody should have it.

Helen Dewdney 41:00

I'm I'm a great believer in wanting being good for your mental health because it gets it out of your system. You're internalising it. Yes, definitely. Definitely. Well, thank you so much for joining because I think you and I could probably talk for hours and put the world's two rights and and everything definitely so but I hope everyone found that useful and interesting. And thank you for listening. And if you have a topic you'd like me to discuss on the show, you can email me on Helen at East London And you can find me on the website the complaining But information on consumer issues including rights, money saving matters and all the other episodes of the complaining cow show on East London radio and you can find me on Twitter at complaining cow and at the complaining count Instagram and Facebook and you can get 15% off the books how to complain the essential consumer guide to getting refunds redress and results and 101 habits of an effective complainer with the code E L. R. Cao on the website. Thanks very much see you next time. Bye

Kekezza Reece 42:08


Word Cloud from the interview. Largest words are Disability, People, Disabled and wheelchair.
Word Cloud


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