Jenny on being part of Stopgap Youth Company

I am 25 years old, have Cerebral Palsy and I am part of StopGap Youth Company.I worked with Stopgap quite a few times in the past when I was at the Orpheus Centre. I always wanted to join so when I left the Orpheus Centre, it was the perfect opportunity. The reason I left was because I moved into my own flat. I live independently and have three p.a’s to facilitate my needs. I have been living here for 5 months. I’m in charge of my own life now, I get to choose what I want to do and going to Stopgap was top of my list.

I like knowing everyone at Stopgap and its a lot easier for me than acting, which I was doing a lot more of before.
Every Wednesday evening I practice in Guilford.I like going, I really enjoy dancing, it can be hard in a wheelchair but I just have to show people how I can do it. I have to tell myself relax and listen to the music.I tend to tense up and if it becomes really bad I cant move, so being relaxed is really important,not only for dancing but in my every day life as well. If I think about it too much I tense up even more, so I have to let it go. Sometimes in the dance group I need someone to help me relax my arms slowly. 
The hardest part for me is trying to do all the moves at the right time. 

I have met a lot of new people through Stopgap, we worked with students from Guilford University and put on a few performances before Christmas. In one performance we were in a group and at one point someone stood on my wheelchair. I had practiced this with my dance partner but she became ill before the performance so I had to do it with different people instead. I felt nervous but I got on with it and felt proud I could cope with the changes.

One of the people in Stopgap was in the Opening Ceremony for the Paralympics, her name is Laura and she is amazing. One day I hope to be as good as her. I am looking forward to all the opportunities that I will have being part of Stopgap. Hopefully I will continue for a long time.

Jenny Musselle


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