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Just Different in Verse

Disabled people’s employment charity JustDifferent has published a poem describing the everyday experiences of one of their staff, saying one of the main reasons the organisation exists is to try and create a world in which the events described in the poem are more based in fiction than fact.

The charity was set up a decade ago by Toby Hewson – a young man with cerebral palsy – to provide meaningful paid employment opportunities for disabled adults. It employs a team of workshop presenters who create and deliver workshops on a variety of disability and difference topics to school and businesses.

The poem, written by presenter, Julie Lancaster, who had to retire from her job as a police officer due to rare movement disorder myoclonic dystonia, is entitled People Go Through Much Worse and reads:

‘You are disrupting the customers.’

They were kind at that café that day,
Customers want a quiet time,
not somebody shouting and bawling,
while they are eating and talking.
Couples, families. They had to ask you to leave.

‘The family room is not for you.’

That beer garden was perfectly pleasant.
They never forced you outside that day.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon
never came to swallow you up.
Lovely greenery. You had a nice time. You said.

‘We have no facilities for you.’

At that hotel that day they explained,
even before you tried to book.
You could have left your chair there below
the bottom step – to be carried.
There are only about six or seven steps there.


You cannot stop people from staring.
It’s normal. They never touched you.
They never cut your satin soul
to rags, to gloat and poke a stick at.
Ignore. Man up. Look away.

‘Ooo. Just look!’ Hahahahahaha
‘Oh yes. Hehehehe. Video!’

On your road, on your way home that day,
you could have laughed along – learned to laugh
at yourself. Was it really that bad?
Words. ‘Sticks and stones’, remember?
People go through much worse.

I stayed at home today,
and tomorrow and the next day.’

If you are interested in getting involved with JustDifferent, which opened a new office in Rotherham last year serving Yorkshire and Humberside, please get in touch by emailing contact@justdifferent.org or calling 01709 837691.


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When I moved to Sheffield nearly five years ago it was my "go to" organisation. I expect it to stay that way. All the staff and volunteers seem to pull out little gems of effort that disabled people like me couldn't do without. Professionally and personally - I love em :)
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Andrew Crooks

Disability Sheffield is a forward-thinking, energetic organisation doing a lot of positive work in Sheffield. I have no doubt they will continue to do so for a long time to come.
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A fantastic presentation thought provoking and good questions from the floor around promoting this film/message to the general public not just professionals.
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training feedback

Very good presentation, brave of the speakers to tell their stories and had a very high impact - feedback from Mate/Hate Crime presentation and video session at Safeguarding Working Together Conference
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