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Disabled woman signs up to local online community

Nat Parr painting

A Coventry charity has been a lifeline for a disabled woman who has felt lonely since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nat Parr, from Coventry, was left paralysed from the chest down after an illness which saw her spending almost a year in hospital.

With little mental stimulation to occupy her time Parr was overjoyed when she was made aware of a scheme supporting isolated adults run by Voluntary Action Coventry [VAC].

Before she heard about the project Parr spent her time learning to paint with a brush taped to her hand, but lacked social interaction.

"I was completely housebound, and completely cut-off from everyone. It became really lonely, really isolating," she told BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service.

But when Parr heard about Chat Central staging online classes she had a connection with the outside world.

"It was absolutely amazing. I got my paints out again, I got back into creating. It was company, and it just gave me life back again," she said.

"Even though I couldn't leave the house, I did so much. It's taught me another way of living now."

The project, funded by the National Lottery, aims to boost people’s confidence and developing skills.

Since launching in 2020 Chat Central has transformed the lives of over 300 people including new mums and people with long-term illnesses.

Nicola Smith, from VAC, said: "There are lots of people that have got out of practice with socialising, so they're not used to leaving the house and meeting someone for a coffee, for instance.

"Chat Central offers people a therapeutic safe environment to practise socialising and to build up those skills, and feel welcome as well and feel part of a group."

[ Voluntary Action Coventry has been making people a little stronger since 1957 ]

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