Joshua says National Star has helped him realise his dream of becoming a disability rights campaigner.
The 24-year-old former student, who has cerebral palsy, was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours for service to people with disabilities.
It was while he was a residential student at National Star in 2015 that he launched his campaign ‘Don’t Call Me Special’. Now Joshua, who lives in Cardiff, works part-time as a paid Campaign Support Officer for a national disability charity, as well as developing his own campaign and working with other organisations.
In 2017 he was part of the National Star delegation taking part in the Commonwealth Conference in Antigua. Last year he was part of a steering group commissioned to do a report for the Welsh Government on how the pandemic is affecting disability rights.
‘My campaigning journey started at National Star and thanks to everyone there, from the customer services team to my occupational therapist, I now have a career in what I believe in and live as independently as I can,’ said Joshua.
‘I remember going to tell the Principal about wanting to start my ‘Don’t Call Me Special’ campaign and the support she gave me. I didn’t think for a moment it would lead me to receiving such an honour from the Queen.’
Joshua was also one of the stars of the BBC3 documentary series The Unbreakables: Life and Love on Disability Campus, in 2015.
‘Doing that documentary helped me find a way to change the difficult experiences I had as someone with a disability into something positive.’