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​Heather Fowley

photo of heather fowley, member of ENABLE scotland
The sky is the limit for Heather Fowley.

There was a time when Heather lacked confidence and self-belief. Now, she harbours ambitions to have her own home… and make a parachute leap from a plane.
Heather, of Edinburgh, joined ENABLE Scotland nine years ago on the advice of her social worker, who was concerned that she lacked interests and needed to make friends.

After a nervous start and a few staff changes, Heather became frustrated when support workers were not punctual and failed to stick to the rota. Her social worker was right to assure her that changes were taking place within the organisation which would improve service delivery. She soon began to feel included and consulted, and believed for the first time that her opinions mattered.

“I got to interview my own support workers, which allowed me to choose someone I liked and thought would be helpful. Then, the managers asked me to become involved in interviewing ENABLE’s advisory committee (ACE) co-ordinators and team leaders. I used to get nervous and wonder what I would ask people, but now I just fire away and ask lots of questions so that I can work out if they will be respectful, listen to us and be a good member of staff,” explained Heather (33).

“I’m even going to become a peer supporter and have some training so that I can start supporting other people. I never thought I’d be able to do that. It makes me feel really proud.”

There was a time when Heather feared going out and socialising – but that has changed.

“Because ENABLE has listened to what I want, I’m now more confident. Now, I go on outings and I love it. I’ve just been on a trip to Dumfries and Galloway, I go to the ACE group every month and go swimming and for walks with my support workers. I even get on public transport to meet my support workers - and I would never have done that before.”

With the help of an ENABLE support worker, Heather successfully applied two years ago for a voluntary position at a nearby hospital. She makes hot drinks for elderly people, and visits mums and their new-born babies at a neighbouring unit.

“My support worker Katrina says I speak up at ACE group meetings a lot more than I used to and that I’m really good at guiding other people. I’ve made good friends there. I feel more included in decision-making,” said Heather.

“I love ACE and national ACE who have made me more positive and more confident. I am proud to say that all those who have helped me through thick and thin in so many ways made me the strong person I am today. I would be lost without ACE or ENABLE and the good quality staff and support they provide.”

Heather’s childhood love of hill walking led to her attending a one-day training course to become a walking leader. She learned about safety checks and making sure that routes were accessible for wheelchairs. A few months after passing the course, Heather set up her own group, which meets every second Sunday.

Heather is proud of the many achievements she’s made since becoming involved with ENABLE. Having lived with her sister for 14 years, she now feels ready to become independent and have her own home. 

She recently became engaged to childhood friend, Keith Boucher, and the pair are currently making wedding plans.

One of her greatest joys is spending precious time with her beloved nephews, Jordan (11), Dylan (8), and five month old niece, Brook who, says Heather, has made the family complete.

Added Heather: “Oh, and I want to do a parachute jump and raise money for ENABLE. I must be mad because I’m petrified of heights but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do! But I have diabetes and I have to make sure my feet are in good condition. I might have to wait for a while, but I will definitely do it!”

Watch this space.

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